“Do you know where you are going to?
Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to,?
Do you know?”
The starting words to one of my favourite songs sung by the legendary Dianna Ross. A song which I just learned is the sound track to the movie Mahogany, a story about Tracy (Dianna Ross) an African-American woman from the slums of Chicago who puts herself
through fashion school in the hopes of become one of the worlds top designers.
A song and subsequently a movie which illustrate this posts focus – Goal setting
I was first introduced to the concept of goal setting when I read the fantastic, inspiring book
Okay in all likelihood this probably wasn’t the first time I was introduced to goal setting, more like it was the first time goal setting was something that had become important to me. You see I am by nature a person who goes with the flow, a person who used to let things happen as they happened. Unfortunately I slowly started experiencing stress and high disappointment living this mind set and decided to make a change, which subsequently brought me to the aforementioned book and enlightenment.
Why a post on goal setting? Because of the following
Reason 1 is best illustrated by Lewis Carrols Alice in Alice in wonderland
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” said the cat
“I don’t much care where –” said Alice
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” said the cat
“An effective goal can improve performance by up to 16 per cent (the equivalent of saving yourself an hour in an average eight-hour day)” research by professors Edwin Locke and Gary Latham into goal setting and high performance
So how to set achievable, inspiring goals?
1. Identify exactly what it is you want as well as why specifically you want this. A technique to help you in this regard is to ask yourself the question
“Why do I want this?” or “Why is this important to me?”
Keep asking this question until you can longer answer ‘because…’. What you now have is your motive/your emotional need. This is the driver that keeps the fire burning when things get tough
Break your goal down into 3 key areas
- Vision goal: This is what you are working to accomplish.
Performance goals: These are the indicators (land marks) which you use as yard sticks to determine whether you are going in the right direction at the right speed etc.
- Behavioural goals: These are the actions, behaviours that you have identified will (if done consistently) bring you to your vision goal. These are the actions and behaviours that you have control over and that you are committing to doing day in day out
2. Write your goal down and make it very specific. Here are a few guidelines to assist you
- Make it in the first person
- Make it in the present tense
- Make it specific (date, exact details, colour, sounds, smells, emotions, quantity, time)
- Write it down, draw it, paint it, capture it
- Read it and reread it and reread it. Immerse yourself everyday in living the accomplishment
Here’s a personal example to illustrate
Its 3pm Saturday 22nd August 2015, a beautiful autumn afternoon in Budapest as I cross the finish line to my first ever Ironman 70.3. My head is held high, smile radiating from my face,eyes brimming with tears, chest bursting with pride at the fulfilment of one of my long standing dreams.
I set out to finish this event with a few criteria in place
– Finish with a second to spare from the cut off 9 hours – I have done it in 7h50min!
– With a smile on my face – if it got any bigger the sun would rise again
– My heart still beating – not only is it still beating but I feel strong and energised – and a spring in my step – after 70.3 miles I still have the energy to skip the final 100 yards arms waving in wild celebration.
The noise from the watching spectators is like nothing I have experienced before. The applause and encouragement pulsing through me, goose bumps of emotion rippling across my skin. My beautiful wife comes running towards me, tears streaming down her face as we embrace hugging each other tightly, lips salty as we kiss and gaze into each others eyes whispering we did it/we did it.
A little later, once the euphoria has settled to a mild hum and we have celebrated with a well earned tipple I have a chance to reflect on the journey that started 9 months ago with us booking ourselves onto this event. The sitting down and planning of our nutrition and training plans. My attending a running, swimming and cycling clinics to improve efficiency and output. Doing the work that was set out in our plans day in and day out, come rain, wind or shine. The once monthly races to test and measure impact of our training. Finding ways around illness, injury and travel – made easy because of the well laid plans up front
So, “If you don’t know where you are going to, if you don’t like the things that life is showing you” stop and take a moment to look at your life, Make a decision on one thing you have the power to change which will give you the direction or happiness you require, follow the guidelines above and make your world great