“Whenever you take a step forward, you are bound to disturb something.” INDIRA GANDHI
December is a busy month with added pressures. It is also a time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished during the past year and your goals for the upcoming year. I have come across two interesting theories why it’s important to set goals, and why it really doesn’t matter. You decide.
1. Why you should set goals in your life.
Are you already disciplined and organized? Do you follow a set of goals like the ones below?
- One-Year Goals: You review your list a few times a year, and have specific categories like fitness, writing, income, travel, family, etc.
- Five-Year Goals: The “big things” you hope to accomplish, and review once a year.
- Lifetime Goals: Your bucket list, everything you want to accomplish in your life. You also review this once a year. What memories do you want to have when it’s your time to say “goodbye?” What would you regret not accomplishing?
Chris Guillebeau admits that people who seem to get a lot accomplished, like he does, are not super disciplined but have been able to “create a structure around work” that allows for improvisation. Chris, my new hero, says he takes goals seriously and does work hard, but this is usually a result of him building a good structure to begin with.
2. Why you should not set goals in your life.
On the other hand, Leo Babauta, the author of the popular blog ZenHabits, takes a different approach. He completely changed his life a couple of years ago. At first he focused on goals. He was overweight, a smoker, sedentary, completely stressed and deeply in debt. Goals helped him change his life around and he was then able to run several marathons, get out of debt and start a very successful blog ZenHabits. Now Leo says, “I’ve pretty much given up on goals, though I’m still learning how that works.”
Listening to Leo Babauta talk on FitMarriage I was struck by his statement regarding letting go of goals, and getting away from goal setting. For example, instead of saying, “I shall lose twenty pounds,” Leo recommends focusing on the enjoyment right now, rather than on your future goal. “When you do it that way,” Leo says, “You’re not fixated on where it will get you.” He believes in starting as small as possible, even with exercise. Just five minutes, don’t think one hour.
Leo says, “We give (goals) a lot of credit for our accomplishments, but they didn’t do the work. They might have given us a direction, but in the end, the work is done on a daily basis.”
As Leo points out, “Even with goals, some people aren’t going to achieve anything, because they haven’t figured out how to motivate themselves. Goals don’t do that for you — they just make you feel guilty that you haven’t gotten them done.”
So my advice is to follow what Indira Ghandi said, take a step forward, preferably a Gutsy one. After all, who wants to stand in one place?
Are you a goal setter? If so what’s your style? Any tips are welcome to help us get moving.