As some of you know me, you know I can’t do anything in halves. This week I want to look at why we may set goals for training (or life) and what are some things to think about now that we have finished our FEAT Fit Challenge and get back into training as usual. BUT, I do want to say that I have changed my tune about goal setting over the past couple of years. I think that knowing where you are going and why is a great way to get things done. Yet it is equally important to have areas in your life where you are just still and submit to the experience, going with the flow. So as I talk here, it is from the perspective of productivity in the most contemporary way we think about it. I do just want to say it is ok to think about your life as just being, as it is.
Setting the direction for your life can be an essential part of adding purpose and meaning to your experience. I think there is so much truth in the idea that human beings are like a bicycle; if we are not moving towards something, we lose equilibrium and tip. But it is not just about moving aimlessly, to quote Steven Covey - "If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster."
It is the ability to act rather than to be acted upon, to proactively live life as opposed to reactively. As the great man (Robert) once said to me - the best time to plant a tree was 10 years ago, the second best time is today. To extend on this, there is so much to be learned from watching the tree grow. The way it grows in depth before it looks to grow up, the focus a tree has on it's foundations or roots and the way it can be ridiculously productive whilst not really attaching to any of the outcomes.
Goal setting or doing this self-work can very much be confronting. It takes something to do and even more to share, cause once we share it, then it becomes reality. I want to offer a place to start when you're thinking about these things. It is really important to understand that it is a process of detection rather than invention. You want to look at your life as it is and start from the place that you are whole, complete and perfect exactly as you are today. There is nothing that needs to be fixed, rather giving the nutrients for flowers that are looking to blossom.
As we get stuck in the mindset of trying to fix ourselves, your mind starts to focus on all the things you don’t like about yourself. Simply, if you visualise the wrong thing you'll produce the wrong thing. Another way to hear it, where focus goes, energy flows. Meaning if we are focusing on the negative or what we don't want, all we are going to get in our experience is what we don't want. By starting from a place of there is nothing to fix, we can put our focus on areas we can grow even more.
As we now explore what our goals could be, it is important to note that an effective goal focuses primarily on results rather than activities. It identifies where you want to be, and, in the process, helps you determine where you are. It gives you important information on how to get there (MAP), and it tells you where you have arrived (Measure of Success). It unifies your efforts and energy. It gives meaning and purpose to all you do. And it can finally translate itself into daily activities so that you are proactive, you are in charge of your life, you are making happen each day the things that will enable you to fulfil your personal mission statement or values.
What we are really looking at when goal setting, is to create new habits - lasting change - that allows us to contribute to others and positively impact the world. We are trying to decode who it is we want to be in the future and what can we take today to be living from this space in the future. There is only so much that can be gained out of selfish pursuits, inevitably it is about sharing with the ones you love and being more for others that brings us true fulfilment!
To do this there are 3 main components: Any time you sincerely want to make a change in your life, the first thing you must do is raise your standards - you absolutely must demand more of yourself. If you’ve raised your standards but don’t really believe you can meet them, then you’ve already sabotaged yourself. Then the next thing we need is to change our limiting beliefs. Our beliefs are unquestioned commands telling us what we can do and what we can’t do. They shape every thought, every action and every feeling we experience. Empowering beliefs - this sense of certainty - is the force behind any great success throughout history. Lastly, you want to change your strategy, as they say, doing the same thing over again, expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. The best strategy, in my opinion, is aggressive role modelling. Find people who are having success in what you want to achieve and learn. Be a continual student and you can turn decades of failed results, into days.
Most importantly, you are an average of the closest people around you. To achieve your goals, surround yourself with a great bunch of people who will support you by holding you accountable to what you have said you are going to do and the actions you are looking to take. In saying that, setting the bar high is as much for the people around you as it is for you… Bring it on!