When I started this, I knew from enough self experience that I’d have a hiccup. At least one. I got five days in and had a hiccup. Getting last minute presents and preparing for the flight home all day was enough to throw me off course. Ironically, it was the first day off of the week that I was too busy to write.
My goals have always been arduous endeavors. Well, thats how I’ve tended to contextualize them anyway. The process has been routinely arduous because I tend to envision a perfect outcome (uh, like 100% of the time- no room for error). No matter what I’ve tried to work toward, I’ve created the perfect scenario in my mind from which the process could not deviate.
Through this, I’ve often found myself going astray, getting distracted, forgetting what the initial intent of what my goal actually is. As soon as another shiny option presents itself, I latch on like a moth to a flame. This is probably my biggest challenge in any active form of self improvement. I’ve found myself in a countless number of these ruts. What am I doing wrong? How do I keep deviating from the goal?
Over the past year, I’ve started to realize the way I’ve set goals in these moments has specifically allowed for this problem to happen again and again. My goals have all been set on an emotionally based, imagining-the-perfect-scenario level. Nothing is rooted in a firm grasp of what I want to accomplish either simply or specifically.
Writing this blog for 7 days is certainly not the only goal I’ve ever attempted. I’ve set and achieved a host of goals in the past. What I refer to as goals now just happens to sit within the context of expounding on the trajectory of my life. “Goals” are something deeper than achievements on a broad empty plane. “Goals” are attempts at shifting the parameters to advance my life’s purpose.
That said, all my biggest, most ambitious goals that never panned out were stuck in the needless complexity of identifying what I wanted in the most perfect, ideal scenario. Upon reflection, they have typically lacked two major critical elements:
- Task Management- Making sure the idea isn’t bogged down by too many disassociated elements factoring into the outcome. Streamlining the process and breaking the overarching master plan down into easier, achievable steps.
- Ex: I want to make an album–>I need to make 10 songs–>I need to make one song–>I need to write lyrics for one song–> I need to write a short poem.
- Planning- Ensuring the process has a central idea that everything else revolves around. Not letting the goal fall off your radar because you achieved one step and now have to figure out what to do next from scratch. Planning out enough of the goal to keep yourself busy until you achieve a critical element, large portion, or the goal in its entirety.
- Ex: I need to write a short poem–> What will I do after that? I will try to make that poem into lyrics for a song–> What will I do after that? I will try to make those lyrics fit to a song–> What will I do after that? I will make a new poem for the next song…
These two factors, if you haven’t already figured out, have a tangential relationship. They prop each other up and balance each other out. If your goal keeps getting turned into another idea, remind yourself of the central idea. If your goal keeps getting forgotten about, remind yourself of the planned steps to achieving the next step. Make the plan remind you to keep working at it.
The most ironic thing of all is I incorporated this method in a pretty half assed way for my Blogging goal. Mainly, I didn’t plan out what to do when the holidays came up. I did have some pre-written, back up blogs to use in a pinch. I didn’t use them because the blog organically became a 7 day self help series. My streak lasted 5 days. Like I said in the beginning, I knew I’d have a hiccup. Even with the minimal effort used to incorporate this into the bigger goal, it still made a big difference in my approach.
Imagine if I had articulated every single detail with a fine toothed comb. Imagine if I’d thought of every possible setback and developed solutions for all of them before delving into the goal. This wouldn’t have even been a challenge. I would’ve churned out 7 blogs in a row with little effort.
What’s interesting is that the process can only truly be understood by mastering the process by yourself. Its a beautiful and enticing thing when a process is articulated in the abstract by someone else. Ultimately though, the process is defined by an individual’s nuances and how deeply they understand themselves. As articulated in all the previous blogs this week, we can only be masters of ourselves. To know yourself is to know your true self.