August 31st, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments
Goals are funny things if you stop to think about them, not that many people do. Goals are usually and blindly accepted as good things:
People often assume that having goals is a good thing, and it is. People often assume that these goals are a source of motivation, and they might be. People often assume that a fixed attachment to their goals is both required and desirable and they are wrong. Goals are an end, but they can also end the means, yet another behavioural paradox!
Goals aren’t neutral, defining an end and then waiting passively on the sidelines for you to act accordingly in order to arrive. For as long as they exist, they will have an influence and you must decide, actively and continually, whether this influence is positive or negative at any point. In the post linked above, tis nobler stated:
If you see your future as fixed, you are less likely to arrive there.
And if you imagine that this future is positive, you are also less likely to arrive there – you should expect the positive and imagine the negative! Reasonable (in size and probability) expectations of success can direct your efforts towards goal achievement; in contrast, low expectations of success can see you heading somewhere else (which is not necessarily a bad thing if you think it through. It’s healthy to think of ‘failure’ as delayed success).
Now, here’s another finding to throw into the decision making mix – there are benefits in breaking goals down and breaking goals up. The direction doesn’t matter as either direction can keep you heading in the right direction. Reframing goals into more easily digested, bite-sized pieces is the key. ‘tis nobler isn’t talking about global goals that can be fixed, fuzzy and forever out of reach; ‘tis nobler is talking about concrete, shorter term goals that affect the next few months or a year or so. These goals – think of weight loss as the example – require regular effort.
Framing a commitment as ‘3 hours per week’ seems less likely to be sustained than its reframed version of ‘less than half an hour a day’. It just appears easier and effort is maintained when things are a little easier:
Making things seem a little easier is not the same as making things easier. Perception is the issue, not effort. Making things seem a little easier is NOT avoiding the harder stuff; it’s a way of making the harder stuff more likely to occur. You can construct a better future by deconstructing your goals, and you can do this without altering them. How easy is that?