Post 017: As important as goal setting?

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“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” -Sally Berger

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, new years resolutions have frustrated me in the past and been ineffective for me. This year, I thought long and hard in the run up to the new year about how I could set goals differently. I have already spoken about the character goals that I have in an earlier post, but when it came to setting more career and life based goals, focussing on behaviours and actions helped make the process much easier.

I have set myself some ambitious targets this year that really excite me. Now, if I attain the targets bang on time, then I can pat myself on the back and celebrate and I do intend to give it my best shot. However, I am also aware that my life situation has changed dramatically with the arrival of my second child and this will have an impact on my life as well. This has forced me to come away from a overly intense approach when it comes to taking action, and trying to focus more on putting in rituals that will allow me to be consistent.

I have looked at my major goals and asked myself the question: What action can I consistently take that will get me to that target?

Case in point: One of my goals as I already mentioned, is to finish my story in 2014. In order to achieve this, I haven’t cut myself off from my family and friends and abandoned all other endeavours. I have instead decided to focus on writing a minimum of 100 words 3 days a week every week. Now that sounds too easy doesn’t it? This is precisely why it is an excellent system of behaviour for that particular goal. It will train me to become consistent and over time build upon that solid foundation of discipline. The day will come when I will be able to write 500 words 3 days a week with as much ease as I can write 100 now. I will allow momentum to build naturally with these behaviours when I feel capable of taking more on.

Our goals and targets should push us, but not overwhelm us. Overwhelm leads to no action and stressing about goals will lead to poor performance. Better to have some rituals that you can become consistent with and let them lead you to your goals, than overly lofty targets that leads to nothing. In the past I have been guilty of lying to myself about what I can manage in terms of setting goals and striving for them. The key this year is that I have recognised the need for action to happen. Even if the action is slight, that nudge us still progress.

What goals have you set yourself for 2014?

Have you reflected on whether your goals are attainable in the time frame that you have allowed for them?

Answering these questions will help you set up a winning formula for your goals and dreams for this year

I wish you the best.

Shaun.

Post 007: Taking action.

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Tonight I nearly went to bed without posting on my blog. I nearly made an excuse that I’m tired and that it’s not important to do it tonight as I could always do it in the morning. This then bugged me as it’s what I have done most of my life. I have decided to try and focus on my self awareness more and more. I realised that one of the things that I have done in the past is procrastinate on my ideas and let them fade away.

This is dangerous because it stops us from taking the action we can today to build momentum and when I’m in this mindset I start to doubt the original spark and don’t put the energy into creating something from it.

We create success from action. This has been the message from so many sources that I’ve have been studying over the past couple of months. My mentor, my recent audiobook (The 8th Habit by Steven Covey) and the translation of the Samurai book Hagakure all point towards this call to action whether you feel prepared or not.

So this post is an attempt however small, to lean towards action and discomfort. To push towards that which I have said I will deliver on and worry less about having the perfect plan or waiting for the perfect moment. This quote from the Hagakure sums this mentality up very well. This is good proof that principles are timeless.

 In the words of the ancients, one should make his decisions within the space of seven breaths. Lord Takanobu said, “If discrimination is long, it will spoil.” Lord Naoshige said, “When matters are done leisurely, seven out of ten will turn out badly. A warrior is a person who does things quickly.”

When your mind is going hither and thither, discrimination will never be brought to a conclusion. With an intense, fresh and undelaying spirit, one will make his judgements within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break right through to the other side. 

Let’s not wait for the perfect moment, or the perfect day. Let us be willing and brave enough to say the time is now and start creating the life of our dreams.

I wish you the best

Shaun