Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Cat On A Cold Plastic Roof
Goals, goals, goals. Yesterday a friend o' mine asked why I set so many of them, which caught me off guard as I somewhat assume that everybody on the planet understands the importance of goal setting, especially anyone over thirty-five,
Assuming anything about anybody is bad, I know, but there are a few things that are so simple I just assume their importance is universally understood.
I did not have goal-setting hammered into me as child - it's one of those things I wish I had been taught, wish I had been forced to develop the habit of doing, wish I had been shown the importance of knowing how to do, and do properly.
Goal-setting was something I had to stumble upon, and it didn't happen until I was in my mid thirties (which is why I believe anyone over the age of 35 should be aware of it, I suppose).
There are people who, at a very young age were taught to set goals, explained the importance of goal-setting, and shown how to go about setting rational goals and then accomplishing them. I envy those people.
Goal-setting is the secret to accomplishment, except it's not a secret, it's just a truth. If you want to accomplish something, anything, simply write out your goal and then write out what it will take to get there (again, within reason - if you're 5'2", weighing 135 lbs, and have little to no upper-body strength, don't make taking the World's Strongest Man title from Brian Shaw your goal).
For example, say you want to write a novel. Write that down, just write down "I want to write a novel". See how easy that was?
Now comes the hard part. While writing a novel requires certain skills which can be acquired/learned, it also requires something that you pretty much have to be born with, which is imagination. Not all of us were born with Stephen King's ability to craft an engaging tale, so if coming up with a story to relate around a campfire is a challenge for you, maybe you should reassess your goal.
However, if you do have the ability to spin a yarn, and perhaps you paid attention in English, and have a fairly good grasp of story structure/character and plot development/vocabulary and grammar, then you only need to write out the steps you need to follow to write a novel - which in this day and age is made even easier because story writing software is available that will pretty much take you by the hand and lead you from start to finish.
There is only one small catch. Story writing software, and all the education in the world, will not give you two of the vital ingredients necessary for accomplishing whatever goals you have established for yourself.
Discipline, and focus.
You have to develop the discipline to work every single day towards your goal, and you have to stay focused on the goal.
That's the rub, right there. That's where the conversation ended up when, after that friend o' mine asked why I set so many goals, he followed that up with "And why don't you accomplish half of them?"
Discipline and focus. I need to develop much more of both. I can be disciplined enough to research what it takes to accomplish anything, and have started countless endeavors...but staying focused? Staying focused and being disciplined enough to finish what I started?
I'm working on it.