Goal Pursuit- Enjoy the journey!

Our goals are an explicit commitment and they help us focus our attention on a target. If we keep that destination in mind and we know where we are going then we are free to make the most of where we are now. The primary purpose of having a goal is to enhance the enjoyment of the present.

If you are creative and ambitious then you may have other people’s goals that you want to fit into your own goals. This will require you to set priorities and have the courage to say “no” to pile their goals onto your plate. Resist setting multiple goals at once and as you may end up getting distracted and accomplishing less.

Focusing on one goal means lowering the number of goals you are attempting to accomplish beyond the daily demands. This requires you to make hard choices in regards to the one major goal and the other minor goals that are on your radar. The one major goal is set apart as that is where your effort is focused.

Once your collective energy is focused on a challenge there is little that can stand in your way. Since we are hardwired to do one task at a time with excellence, selecting one extremely important goal makes sense. The test usually comes when we are juggling several tasks and are trying to distinguish what is a priority or urgent and what will bring us closer to our goal. The more you multi-task the less deliberate you become and the less you are able to think and reason out a problem.

The questions to ask to find out what is your number one business goal are:

1. If every other area of your business remained the same, what is the one area that if it were changed would impact your business the most?
2. If you miss achieving this goal would your business still be successful?

Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of, “The Myths of Happiness” suggests breaking down goals into sub goals and daily aims. In her book she also lists the following ways to select goals:

1. Intrinsically motivated
2. Harmonious (rather than conflicting with one another)
3. Satisfy your innate needs (such as a need to be connected with others)
4. Aligned with your own authentic values
5. Reachable
6. Flexible
7. Focused on attaining something (rather than evading something)

Setting a goal is about making a commitment in words and having the power to create a better future. To experience a sense of purpose, the goals we set need to be intrinsically meaningful. Choose goals that are interesting and personally important rather the goals that you feel forced or pressured to pursue.

Research has shown that making steady progress towards goals contributes more towards our sustained happiness and self-fulfillment than actually reaching them.

There are four steps involved in goal pursuit:

1. Desire- choosing and setting a goal
2. Creating a plan for action- where, when & how
3. Implementation through action
4. Performance and evaluation- has the goal delivered the expected result?

The role of goals is to liberate us so we can focus on the here and now and enjoy the journey. When goals support the enjoyment of our present experience they indirectly lead to an increase in our levels of well-being along the way, as oppose to a temporary spike in happiness that comes with attaining a goal.

When we think of the possibility of achieving a goal we’re likely to be on the side of optimism and as a result we’re not good at judging if a goal is attainable.

Use this checklist to see if your goal is attainable:

1. Have the necessary time
2. Have the energy and resources
3. Have the level of skill required
4. Have a strategy to attain it
5. Your goal is congruent with your other important goals

Tip! Focus on goals that involve growth, connection and contribution rather than goals involving money, beauty and popularity.

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© 2009 Rosemary Smyth & Associates