If you are like most productivity-aware people, chances are you already have penned down goals or “things” that you want to accomplish this year. Most have theirs when the last quarter kicked in last year.
You constructed these goals in a way that each one is geared towards you becoming a better person than last year – more or less. You probably have an execution plan on how to accomplish them in manner that WINNING is the only result expected.
You also made sure that your goals are S.M.A.R.T – Specific, Measurable, Assignable/Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based. If your goals are non-SMART compliant, forget all about it, right?
Goals should be concrete and attainable and within targeted parameters. These determine the attainability of your goals.
If you apply the SMART criteria in attaining your goals, in no time – when December of this year comes – you’re going to be the better person that you aspired to be – Better Version of You: Smarter, Stronger, and Bigger!
But, if you are like most mortals, there will be times when you feel that you’ve set the bar too high. That much positivism you feel as the new year unfolds may cause you to overdrive. That surge of energy may make you set your threshold to unintentional heights.
Don’t be surprised if, by the end of this year, you feel like you have become the exact opposite of what you expected to become: Naive, Inept, and Unimportant.
There are personal goals unique to us that are not necessarily subject to the SMART criteria. Each one of us is unique in our own way – and, the same is true when it comes to how we construct our goals.
Yes, making your goals SMART-compatible will make those goals highly attainable. But the SMART criteria are only effective to specific goals – Concrete Measurable Goals.
For everything else, these perspectives will surely make you see your goals in a different light…
1. Don’t Give Yourself A Deadline
A concrete goal must have a target date of accomplishment. That’s true specially with concrete things like finance and some personal development goals. “By the end of the third quarter this year, I should already have a saving of X amount of dollar in my savings account toward my planned out-of-the-country vacation by the end of this year. In order to save that amount, I will be saving X amount of money every day, and I will limit my visit to Starbucks.” That kind of goal needs a concrete deadline because the end of that goal is time-based.
We have goals that are immeasurable by all accounts. Goals like “I want to have a rock star career” are abstract and cannot be qualified using the SMART criteria. So, you need to define for yourself what a “rock star career” is. You should be able to breakdown what makes a rock star career and translate that into attainable, concrete steps (get training, active networking, etc.).
But do you have to put a deadline on yourself? No. Because becoming a rock star does not happen overnight. Sure, you can accumulate some amount of knowledge and gain friends within a definite amount of time but putting a deadline to that will limit the territory you can conquer.
Becoming something big, like a rock star in any form, is a continuous process, and thus requires patience. If things do not fall in the right places in the time frame that you wanted, don’t feel like you are running out of time. Don’t feel like you’re nearing the edge of the cliff. Deadlines are there to guide us through our plans. But if they start to make you miserable in relation to what you want to achieve in life, you know what, screw deadlines!
2. Life Is Not About Winning
In the olden days, the ultimate measure of greatness is the magnitude of your conquest. Who has the biggest empire? Who invaded who? Who controlled the most strategic points? Those symbols of conquest are translated nowadays in terms of material measures like the size of houses one is capable of buying, the type of cars one drives to work, the number of fancy vacation one books in his calendar, etc. Bigger goals render bigger trophies. Dream big, they say.
But who are you trying to impress? Move on. Life is not about winning. It’s not about winning at all. The true measure of success can be found in your heart. And no amount of material things can satisfy that thing.
3. Say “No” more often, Say “Yes” Even More
Running out of time? Nearing a deadline and you feel like you haven’t done anything toward a goal? So, you think that saying “No” to anything that doesn’t help you advance to a goal is the key to achieving your goals within certain amount of time. That might be true. Freeing yourself from commitments you don’t really care about can free up time that you can use for things you care about.
Life is not about winning. So reach out. Have a list of “What-or-Whom-Can-I-Say-Yes-to-Today?” Say No but say Yes more often!
4. Stop Out Winning Others
Who’s keeping a tally of high achievers? CNN Money. Forbes. Wall Street. Larry Ellison. Mark Cuban. Warren Buffett. Or, even Tim Ferriss. Are you in the same league? If you answered Yes, please proceed to out winning all you want to out win. Becoming better has nothing to do with out winning others.
5. Life Is Not A Competition
Don’t feel like you have to prove your worth to anybody. Don’t feel like the society – or your social circle – is pressuring you to becoming something. Finish first, finish strong.
That’s not the name of this game we call life. No, let me take that back. Life is not even a game we play. Life is something meant to be lived, not played. Live up to your potentials. But don’t compare that with what people ahead of you have achieved. For one thing, you didn’t know what kind of battle they fought.
6. The Only Competition Is You
The only thing that stand between you and greatness? You. Start from you and end with you. Then you see You. There is no competition. There is only You.
7. Not Winning Is OK
Do you feel like you’ve been losing left and right? You only feel so because you treat life as if it is a game that you play against everyone else and that you need to win every time to keep your sanity. Haven’t achieved anything significant the past year? What is “significant” to you?
We might not necessarily think about this now but small wins might end up to be our biggest wins down the road. Define winning and losing in your context. Don’t let big wins by others define your personal meaning of winning.
8. No One Cares If You Fail Or Succeed
Losing a big bet? Failing to achieve that quota that would have guaranteed promotion and fatter paycheck? But who cares? Who really cares? Get back to the track and try again. Remember, don’t put a deadline on yourself. Sure, “they” want you to win now. But win in your own terms.
If you’re all for the Win, then Failure cease to matter.
9. Fail Often, Try Often
Winning motivates you. Failing determines your character. Have a definitive character. Fail often.
10. Stop Winning Others
In “How to Win Friends and Influence People“, Dale Carnegie said “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” That’s one of the many ways to win friends and influence people.
But guess what’s better way to attract more people? Be You. Setting your mind up to win others is a losing strategy.
11. Set Free Goals Instead Of Measurable Ones
SMART Goals bring you success and happiness. Failed SMART Goals? Unhappiness and feeling of worthlessness. Make a bucket list. Focus on your “Someday List”.
12. Or, Don’t Set Goals At All
When you begin to understand that life is not about winning and out winning others give you nothing but emptiness, you begin to realize that goals are not really necessary. Live life the way it is meant to be lived. Live life as is. Aspire to become Goal-Free.
Well, these perspectives sound like a list of “Things That Make One A Loser.” Take it with a grain of salt.