I recently browsed Google for various definitions of goals and goal setting and found that descriptive explanations are in no short supply (see inset photo below). Some wax quite eloquent; most actually say little to nothing practical. Goal setting is important; I get it, but don’t tell me how functional and inexpensive the furniture offerings are at IKEA and leave out the part about me having to assemble it.

What I’ve found through the years is that all the talk about goal setting draws a crowd, but nearly every single member of said crowd goes back to his or her individual life when the meeting draws to a close with little more than kindled desires of wanting more than what they presently have.

 If you ask me, that’s only half a step away from the seedy salesman on the street Muppet that talks Kermit out of a nickel in exchange for a bottle full of air, then completes the transaction by pouring the air out into Kermit’s hands because the bottle containing the air wasn’t a part of the deal.

If you want catchy quotes to put on your wall, the internet is full of them. Class dismissed; you’re free to go. If you want to set some attainable goals and put some activity in place that will result in results, well then, you may want to hang out for a few more minutes and keep reading.

Trust it or not, I’m all about the process. I’m also all about simplifying things as much as possible, whenever possible. If you ordered the Special Collector’s Edition of my book, PUSH, through Amazon, it should be signed it that way. If it’s not, cry foul and ask for your money back. Better yet, send the copy to me and I’ll personalize a copy for you and pay for shipping. For now, let’s dig into the matter at hand – Setting Goals (and reaching them).

First things first – You already do it all day, every day, by default and you probably don’t even realize it.

Secondly – We need a simple definition.

Lastly – Trust the process… it works!

* * * * * * *

Thing 1)

You already set and achieve goals all day, every day. You know this, but if you’re wondering what I mean by that statement, you’re probably so locked into auto-pilot that you just don’t realize the fantastic things that you’re doing.

Everything you do, all day long, without exception, follows the same simple principle of setting a goal and achieving that goal. We dismiss the activity as inconsequential because it’s become a default behavior – you’re getting things done on auto-pilot.

Here’s a crude example that works for illustrative purposes because everyone who will ever see this post participates in the activity. If at any time in the last 24 hours, you have stopped what you were doing to enter a restroom, public or private, and relieve the pressure building in your bladder, you have set a goal and achieved a goal. Congrats! High Fives! Gold Star!

I know, it sounds stupid and you were probably quick to dismiss the activity as a “doesn’t count” illustration, but it does count and it’s a crystal clear illustration to which everyone can relate. We all do it. We all do it regularly. We all do it without much thought or planning. We all do it as needed. We all do it because it achieves a desired result, one that we all find satisfying.

We’re all committed to the task. We’re all sold on the process. We all find a level of satisfaction each time, no matter how often it gets done. We’ve bought in. We’ve become comfortable. It’s a wheel that we can all point to and agree that it is not in need of a facelift, overhaul, redesign, upgrade.

In fact, you probably haven’t given much thought to this process since your infant years. Oh sure, the times, the places, the states of urge vs emergency may vary just a little, but overall… we can put a checkmark in that box and label it as a mountain climbed.

So why does it work as an illustration? Because the activity itself leads us directly to the best possible definition.

Thing 2)

A goal, simply put, is something you want, or need, to do. That’s all. Nothing more. Draw a line through every other definition, all the adjectives, all the dangling participles (those are the phrases that usually start with a verb with “ing” attached, such as “Having…”). A goal is something you want to do. Everything else is filler and fluff.

I don’t care what it is or how important it is; it matters not how often you do it or how proficient you may have become at it; a goal is simply something you want to do and now that we’ve got that on the chalkboard in the front  of the classroom, let’s define Goal Setting. I hope you’re sitting down for this, because it’s deep. Goal Setting is deciding what you want to do.

That takes us back to our illustration under the Thing 1 header. You set a goal. You may not have realized it, but you decided that you wanted to do something – go to the restroom to relieve your bladder. Granted, it’s not the most lofty of goals, but it’s on 100% target. Everything else becomes the next step, so let’s go there.

Thing 3)

Trust the process. You may be thinking, what process? If you did, that’s because you’ve expertly taken this particular Goal Setting and Goal Achieving effort to the level of default activity. Nothing’s forced. Nothing is up for debate or even consideration. You don’t need advice or motivation. You know what needs to be done and you’ve become confident in your ability to get it done. I know that sounds simplistic, but remember, that’s my calling card. Just simplify!

The process is all the activity that comes between setting the goal and achieving it – deciding what you want to do and actually doing it. Even going to the restroom involves a chain of activity in the process that leads to the desired result. Because I’ve picked an activity in which everyone participates with fairly equal levels of skill, I feel comfortable at this point that you can identify the steps in the process on your own. The steps may vary depending on location. They may vary depending on what you happen to be wearing at the time. They may also vary slightly depending on your sense of urgency. But the process, is the process nonetheless, and each of us can break that down with ease.

* * * * * * *

So let’s put the final pieces of this puzzle together and understand that it applies to absolutely everything that you want to plug into the answer blank for the question: What do you want to do?

Settling on the answer to that question is Goal Setting. Identifying the steps of what it takes to get there requires a little more time, but break it down to the base elements and keep it simple. Your breakdown becomes the chain of activity that takes you from Goal Set to Goal Achieved. That’s the process. Trust it. Follow it. Regardless how lofty it may be, the process is the same and the result comes from our willingness to actively participate in the process.

“I long to accomplish some great and noble task,
but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks
as if they were great and noble.”

                                    – Helen Keller

The ball’s in your court… what do you want to do?


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