14 JANUARY 2018
written by Mike
VISION AND GOALS
I am a big believer in setting clear goals, writing a vision down on a piece of paper and following it.
The vision can apply to anything – your career, your business, your health, your relationships. However what I noticed is that without it is so easy to fall back into procrastination and old habits. I noticed that with the gym. Exercising and sports were never my primary interest, I understood the value but didn’t follow the regimen of ‘good health’.
The illness and passing of close family member made me aware that in reality, health is the only thing I should care about. Without it, everything else suffers – the career, the relationships, the money. No one wants to be the wealthiest man in the grave.
A few years ago I overhauled my exercising schedule and focused on health. I set clear goals and stuck to them for a couple of years – I stopped smoking, drinking and eating junk and started working out regularly.
It worked – I started to look better, felt better and healthier.
Now, because the initial goal was achieved, the workouts became shorter and not that intensive. I had an occasional pizza or burger and laid back a little. Low and behold, I lost few kilos of muscle, I started feeling tired and lost the will to push.
It’s because I didn’t have any goals to reach. The gym became a boring habit where I constantly looked at the clock, counting down the 45 minutes I planned on being there.
To cut the story short – it doesn’t matter what you are trying to achieve, people need challenges. Otherwise, we stagnate and procrastinate. The work itself won’t keep you moving forward, and soon you will start cutting corners. Skip sessions here and there, smoke a cigarette, have that sugary drink.
It’s the same in business and career. Once you feel comfortable, it’s easy to lay back and distract yourself with the phone.
Without challenges, without vision and goals, we are not moving. We are stagnant. So many times I’ve seen it happen to my friends and of course, it happened to me too.
‘You have to study then get a job.’
Now what? Is that it? What’s the next goal?
Without searching, without setting the bar higher, you are also missing out on other, possibly life-changing, opportunities. Stagnation can lead to depression, health risks and just a general ‘giving up’ attitude.
In my opinion, one possible resolution is to set a goal, a long-term vision and stick to it.
The problem, of course, is following the plan. Most things take time; it’s not like you will see the results after one session at the gym – you (and I) need patience. The most straightforward solution to it is to enjoy the journey rather than a destination. Don’t take the eyes of the prize but be happy with the process as much as the final results. Once you do that, it will be so much easier to push through everyday grind.
I love planning and making goals, however, after years of doing that I learned the apparent fallacy – things never go according to the plan.
Today I focus on short-term planning – what are my tasks for today? What do I need or want to accomplish?
I write them down and cross them out when done. I also write more general plans for the month and big plans for the whole year, some of them are logical and sound, others more outrageous.
The critical issue is to know when to adjust. So you are planning to advance your career in the next year.
What if robots take over and you are left jobless? Do you have a plan B? Will you be able to change the direction?
I try not to be too romantic about my plans or ideas. Health, relationships and financial stability are crucial for the peace of mind, but the rest can quickly be adjusted. Times change, people change, and trends change too.
It’s important to be open, be ready to have your convictions challenged and sometimes overturned. Be okay when the plans change, it’s much easier to swim with the stream, rather than against it. Having discipline in place grants freedom and freedom allows for relatively pain-free adjustments. As long as you know that you have done the best you could in a given situation, there shouldn’t be many moments when you give in to regret.
It’s essential to have a clear vision of what you wish to accomplish and stay focus on that. Otherwise, you will be pulled in many directions, too many opportunities. Doing it all is hard.
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