Now that you know about keeping those goals to yourself so you’ll actually work towards achieving them, I need to drop another bomb on you: stop setting “goals” for yourself completely.
Ask yourself: what is a goal? What comes to your mind when you think of one? A finish line, right? A specific point of time in the course of your life that you can point to when you will have successfully achieved your desired outcome or acquired your desired thing.
This kind of thinking is a problem. The reason is that it focuses your attention on getting one thing done in particular rather than changing your behavior over time. This is why New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Most people pick something they want to have or something specific they want to have done. Then, since they chose a goal instead of a direction, they have all year to get that one thing done, right? Except it never gets done because we aren’t training ourselves for change, we’re choosing to put all of our happiness on the event of one specific thing happening.
This isn’t really our fault, it’s the way our education system trained us. They want workers trained for the creation of a desired product. Any deviation from the norm is strictly discouraged.
As a result of this thinking, we don’t have realistic or healthy aspirations. We think about our body and decide that if we lost thirty pounds, we would be happy, because television told us so. The reality is that being plus or less thirty pounds has lot less to do with your overall health than just being more active and eating better. Not running a marathon a week or being a vegan! Just being more active and eating better than you are currently.
Training yourself to think this way or rather untraining yourself not to think incorrectly is difficult, but it’s a muscle that grows stronger with practice.
Make a list of what things you would like to accomplish, those pesky goals, and translate them into behavioral changes.
1. Lose 30 pounds = get your heart rate up for 15 minutes a day.
2. Write a novel = wake up earlier and write for 15 minutes before work each day.
3. Become a billionaire = sell your idea to one person tomorrow, then one person the next day.
Now make your list.