John and Simon, best friends since childhood, decided to get together one year and write down their goals, and then chase them with all their energy and not rest till they had achieved their mountain top moment!
John had a full time job, travelled extensively, hardly slept and was constantly playing the catch up game with his goals and targets. He woke up feeling tired, was always sleep deprived and emotionally was quite a mess because he never seemed to have time for anything – no family time, no time to sleep, no time to work out, had started to have a bad temper too. But at the end of the term, he had hit all his goals a 100%.
Simon on the other hand, also had a full time job, but seemed to wake up feeling fresh, with fire in his belly, he enjoyed a great relationship with his family, he rested himself well, ensured he worked out at least 5 days a week and made time for himself to reflect on his journey every now and then. At the end of the term, he had hit about 90% of his goals.
Over coffee both the friends, shared what their journey looked like over the last one year and were surprised to see how differently they went about achieving their goals. While John had hit all his goals, he looked tired, unhappy and so much older, had lost the fire to do anything new. While Simon was a little unhappy about not reaching all his goals, but looked healthy, fit, upbeat and happy, looking forward to do more the next year. Here were some key lessons, John ended up learning from Simon.
Though it is important to chase those goals, it is more important to plan and schedule the work you need to do to achieve them, before you hit the race track. Plan how many hours your work will require, schedule it into your day and once you do this, time block those hours. Time blocking is to block out all distractions like email, notifications, social media or phone calls, to simply put on your blinkers and laser focus on the work at hand and don’t get up till you get it done!
While the goal is the mountain top, habits are your journey to the mountain top. Install habits that take you closer to your goal each day, one step at a time. After the first 66 days of a tough journey to install a habit, you no longer need any will power to do it. This frees up your will power to focus on building another habit, while the first one has become automatic – which means you cannot not do that thing, it becomes your nature – to wake up and go for a 45 minute early morning walk, for instance.
Resting time needs to be scheduled too. When you consciously build rest timein your schedule, you allow yourself the time to renew by relaxing and taking time off to reflect. This goes a long way in refueling your energies so you can get up on your feet and continue the journey. This could include power naps of 20 minutes in your day, reading a book, spending time with a loved one, meditation, journaling and so on.
Are you living a life like John or Simon? Are you happy on your journey to your mountain top? What changes would you like to make to ensure you have a more fulfilling journey? As you read this blog, it may be a great idea to stop whatever you are doing now, take a pen and paper, grab your favourite cup of coffee or chai, and spend some time reflecting.
Remember, while achieving your goals is important, doing so without enjoying the journey could make your win feel very hollow. The fun in goal achievement is the journey and who you become as a result of being on that journey for a period of time! Learn to celebrate and enjoy every step, every win and learn from every set back. That to me is the best part of setting goals!