Most of us have some kind of goal at any one time; a decision to change something.
It might be to lose weight, to scale a mountain or to write a novel. Equally, it may be to make it through therapy or get a promotion at work. Some days it might be to get out of a bed and have a shower.
No matter the goal, three things are needed:
- – An idea of the destination.
- – The next step to take along your current path.
- – The decision to commit to that goal.
Discovering the Destination
When thinking about the end-point, you do not need a crystal clear image of the final goal. Often we don’t know quite how something will end up, but we are following some kind of calling, pull or desire that helps lead us in a direction.
Knowing at least why you’ve being pulled down a particular path and what drives you forward is super useful when you find yourself blocked by lethargy, exhaustion or an obstacle.
For example, one of the most common “whys” is a call of someone’s creative power rising. It doesn’t have a clearly defined outcome, but it pulls creatives forward no matter what. The same may be true of adventuring wanderers or scholars driven to seek out a truth.
Mapping the Path
Once we have the ‘why’, it’s crucial to think about the next step. This is often the key block for creatives who hold a dream or calling that feels “unrealistic.” Equally, if you’ve ever felt like you’ve “already tried everything” and yet SOMETHING tells you to keep trying – this tends to be the problem. As a practical dreamer and system-driven nerd, I love turning those dreams into action steps.
If you can see a lighthouse ahead, but there’s a chasm between you and it; knowing whether the closest bridge is to your left or your right is vital information.
Not having it won’t necessarily stop you, because there’s clearly 2 options to consider.
So a 50:50 chance. But if you can see a bridge and plan out the quickest route to that bridge, your journey is likely to be both quicker and less stressful.
Making the Decision
The third piece of this puzzle is to make that decision, that commitment to actually make a change. Not “if only” or “when I do this, that might happen,” but “okay, i’m doing this.”
Without going into all the details, aspects of the human brain are activated when we make decisions, and specific parts are required when we use motivation, routine actions and those “adaptive decisions” where we need to make a choice between two options in the moment.
Decisions as a human behaviour could have massive impacts on our finances, health, social status and relationships, and thus there are multiple ways to make them. However, one thing we do know is that committing to a goal makes a difference.
If you’ve ever half-arsed a diet, you’ll know what I mean. “Here’s a salad but eh, I’ll have ice cream after because I’m not really dieting…”
But the main benefit of commiting to a goals is that it minimises the need for further decisions.
If you decide to do X, then you’ve already often decided not to Y, Z or A.
And anything that removes decision-fatigue, is a) awesome for our mental energy and b) one of those ‘secrets of success’ highlighted by the clothing choices of Steve Jobs and Barack Obama.
So make the decision.
“I will (action), starting (date/time), to complete (outcome).”
Even better, tell someone. Hell, write it down in a private diary: that’s still an improvement on your odds of success.
Then take the first step forward.