This post continues my advice on how best to work towards and achieve your goals. If you’ve missed everything that’s gone before it would be worth catching up, starting with my introduction to goals and working through the series from there.
Weigh Every Decision Against Your Goal
In the post about why goals work we identified that the key reason they are so effective is that they help you make decisions. So this tip is simple – every time you make a decision, consider your goals and whether the choice you are going to make will further your progress towards that goal.
This sounds pretty simple, but it is absolutely fundamental. It takes a bit of effort to make sure you get into the habit of doing it every time, but after a while it becomes second nature.
We’ve already said that your goal should be pretty much the most important thing to you (second only to loved ones and family, possibly). So doesn’t it make sense that when you’ve got a decision to make, the path that moves you towards the most important thing in your life is the one you should take?
This really is the crux of why goals are effective and why they work. If your goal isn’t important enough to you that you can bear it in mind whenever you have a choice to make then you really need to rethink whether it’s really what you want. It’s certainly going to be an uphill struggle to get there.
There are a bunch of considerations around this which I covered in the Why goals work post, particularly to do with not working yourself to exhaustion and not justifying immoral decisions because of your goals. Make sure you’re familiar with that post as well as this one.
There’s not a lot more to say on this. Every time you have a decision to make, from what to do with your free time to what to eat or where to go on holiday, consider your goal and ask if there’s an option which moves you towards your goal. Pick that option. If there are several options, pick the one that moves you toward your goal fastest or most effectively.
It’s That Simple – But That Doesn’t Make It Easy
This is it. This is the power of goals. Everything else is just setting up your situation to allow you to quickly and easily assess each decision against your goal. The regular reviews keep your goals and immediate priorities in your mind. The one goal rule stops you from being conflicted about what to pursue when making any decision. The timescales and specificity of goals provide motivation and a clear target.
Hopefully all the preparation you’ve done makes it easy to see the best option whenever you’re faced with a decision. The time you’ve spent defining, breaking down and reviewing your goal will give you a good idea where you want to be heading and how you want to get there. Then it’s just a case of making sure every choice you make moves you in that direction.
Note that I say the preparation makes it easy to see the best option, not that the best option will be easy! Pursuing a worthwhile goal is hard work. It’s rarely the easy choice, but if it’s truly what you want, it’s the right choice for you.
Next week, a summary and recap of all my advice on setting goals.