Alice and the chatty flowers, footage from Tim Burton's Alice in wonderland.
Sometimes clear & specific, others blurred & general. One way or another, the goal seems to be the key, as it points to the direction, adding meaning, creating the path.
We all have goals in life but, where are they? Do we register them & carry out a follow up? Can we show them and share them?
When reading about personal management & organization there is a line that keeps being repeated like a mantra: ‘put your goals in writing’, and not only that but also ‘add deadlines to them’.
Sometimes we react against this tool of systematization, even when we know that it works. We might say that it seems artificial, unnecessary or simply that it does not work for us. I wonder if this resistance is genuine or just a defence to get away from the amount of work and the level of commitment that means to function like this.
Anyway, I invite you to go through this exercise about our own goals with the only intention of clarifying them. When our goals are clear enough they help us to move forward in life & overcome ourselves. Some of us choose to live without them, preferring to go with the flow, and that is also an option. However, defining & clarifying goals helps us to create our own path and this is such a bliss!
Craig Jarrow writes about productivity & personal management techniques and when dealing with goals he says we could ask ourselves 10 questions:
1. Are our goals in writing? Having them written on a piece of paper gives them entity & makes them real, showing a record of their existence, which means giving them power.
2. Are they really ours? Meaning that they don’t respond to other people’s expectations about us. Our goals should come from the inside and we must follow that inner voice.
3. Do they have a deadline? This will help us to have a clear end in mind, being able to recognise it once we get there.
4. What price do we pay to reach them? And, are we ready to pay that price? Whether it is time, money or effort, we must be prepared to face the investment that it takes.
5. What help do we need in order to reach them? If they are true goals, they will be challenging for us. To face & overcome a new challenge quite often we need to learn from somebody else. Who is going to help us, how and when?
6. Are we truly focused on our goals? If we are focusing on many different tasks, if we don’t make them a priority in our lives, then they will dissolve.
7. Are they flexible? Life changes all the time and our goals must have the ability to adapt & evolve instead of break.
8. Are they stretching our limits and challenging us? That’s the only way for us to develop new abilities and to grow as individuals.
9. Do we really believe in them? There will always be someone who doubts us, who criticises what we do or who does not understand us. But we will remain firm, listening to our inner voice.
10. What are we doing today to reach our goals? We must do something every day that makes us move toward our goals, if we are making them a priority in our life.
Of course, this is only the start. We have to get into it afterwards. As Lao Tzu said, "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".
“- Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
- That depends a good deal on where you want to get to –said the Cat.
- I don't much care where –said Alice.
- Then it doesn't matter which way you go –said the Cat.
- …so long as I get somewhere –Alice added as an explanation.
- Oh, you're sure to do that, -said the Cat- if you only walk long enough.”
(Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. Chapter 6)