As we embark on a new year, 2021, and set new goals, it is critical to do so effectively. We’ve all heard that we must set goals if we are going to get to where we want to be. That makes sense, right? Without putting a destination in our GPS when leaving for a trip, we would wander aimlessly, getting nowhere.
That GPS doesn’t just ask for the destination though. In order for it to give you an accurate route, it must also have the starting point. An inaccurate starting point will throw off the whole plan, giving you an inaccurate route to follow. Therefore, to succeed this coming year in reaching your goals, you need two things to get started: a clearly defined destination and an accurate point from which you are starting.
I’ve written about setting and reaching goals, and you can find tons of info online about goal setting, so I would like to spend a little time on the part about accurately defining where you are starting.
Human beings have a unique way of burying their heads in the sand when it comes to certain adverse events. We are amazing at rationalizing, making excuses, and shifting blame. We can somehow justify our poor behavior and shortcomings. I believe it is an adaptive mechanism that helps us cope and limits the time and energy that we would otherwise expend beating ourselves up.
We allow ourselves to believe that we are just a bit overweight, that our finances could be a somewhat better, and/or that our marriages are not too terrible. We tell ourselves things are not that bad, could be worse, or at least are not as bad as other people we know. All the while, the quality of our lives slips slowly into despair.
It would help immensely if you saw things as they actually are. Are you just a few pounds overweight, or are you at a seriously unhealthy weight? Are your finances not as good as they could be, or is your lack of earning or saving robbing you and your family from living an abundant and prosperous life? Is your marriage really okay, or have you drifted so far from love that you’ve forgotten what drove you to marry that person in the first place?
If you don’t see how bad certain areas of your life are, then you’ll never get to a point where those areas are optimal. Seeing how bad things are will help you lay out an accurate path with the appropriate time, energy, and strategy necessary to reach your desired goals. If you do not acknowledge how much work is necessary, then you’ll likely set unrealistic goals. If things are terrible, they will take much longer to repair. That’s not negative, that’s reality. The more work required, the longer it will take.
If you are ten pounds overweight and set a goal to lose that weight in a certain amount of time, lay out a plan, work hard, and stick to it, you will likely lose the ten pounds. If you are twenty pounds overweight, it will require a different plan, more work, and more time, but if you stick to that plan, you will lose the twenty pounds. The problem starts with thinking that you need to lose about ten pounds, but actually needing to lose twenty.
I’m a firm believer that you can do, be, or have what you want in this life. I also believe that the average person can do, be, or have much more than they currently are doing, being, or having. As a species, we have become much heavier, weaker, sicker, and less dedicated reaching our optimal potential. So do not compare yourself to others because that will certainly set the bar low. And don’t be content with areas of your life that are just okay if they can be better.
Set goals this year, but ensure greater success by being honest about how bad things really are before starting. Don’t sugarcoat the facts. Accept that things are that bad, be completely disgusted and fed up with the fact that things are that bad, know that they can be dramatically better, lay out a plan, and get started. Add extensive energy and the appropriate amount of time, and 2021 will look much better at the end of the year than it does right now.