We all have those challenging objectives that we want to achieve, we set our minds to them and we do the apparent right thing: we set GOALS!
Some of us then do the work to achieve those goals, and some of us sit and wait in expectation of achieving them because they’re now set. After all, setting a goal is the secret to achieving that goal isn’t it? Uh, not quite!
You have to actually get off your butt and set the wheels in motion to making that goal happen. There are no goal fairies that come along and sprinkle pixie dust on your goal and voila, instant super achievement! The actual doing is where so many people come unstuck. We’re busy, life is happening, and it’s getting in the way of these goals that we set. Damn! Now our conscience joins the party to guilt us as well, and even that doesn’t necessarily help kick our butts into gear. It just makes us feel like losers.
Next come the excuses and justifications as to why we’re not getting the goal work done. We tell these stories to ourselves and anyone else who cares to listen. It’s pity party time! Once we buy into the story it’s game over unless we can give ourselves a little tap on the side of the head, a reality check of sorts, to get out of the excuse slump and get busy.
So now I’ve had you slapping yourself back into reality, what if I said that’s not good enough? It’s a start, but having a goal without having a system of doing the work is a futile exercise. Systems are the rituals and habits required to build consistency They ensure that we are doing enough of what we’re supposed to be doing with sufficient frequency to experience the desired results.
If we were to assume, for example, that the goal is to lose 10kg by 1 Dec 2015. Visualising this could really mean that the critical goal image is perhaps to fit into the sexy bikini or slim-fit surfer trunks that fitted you 5 years ago.The system to achieve this could possibly be to get into the gym x times per week for 1 hour, to do xyz exercises, to drink x glasses of water daily, to remove xyz from your diet, and to get x amount of sleep per night. In fact, you could eliminate your goal from your thinking and just focus on the system, and you’d more than likely shoot the lights out in terms of achieving the goal. Consistency and appropriate rituals and habits cannot be ignored by your body.
Actually, this is not always true!
This is another area where so many people get caught in a mental trap: you can set the goal, you can design the system and go about doing all the work, but nothing meaningful changes. Why might this be?
Goals are important as a starting point, the system is then necessary for consistency and continuity, but knowledge is essential for optimum results! Why do I say this?
I recently had a conversation with a friend who shared her weight loss goal with me. She told me about her gruelling exercise regime, and her dismal lettuce leaf diet. Oh, let me not forget to mention that she confessed the only time she cheats is when she’s around her kids and grabs a chip or two out of their chip packet, a sweet or two out of their sweet jar etc. Daily!
It’s right there that the lack of knowledge is defeating both her goal intentions and her system. All that hard work, discipline, pain and suffering for nothing. We also chatted briefly regarding the exercises that she’s doing in the gym: pretty much nothing that is going to aid either weight loss or muscle tone, and no cardiovascular benefits anywhere in sight.
She resisted hard when I tried to explain to her that until she gets properly clued up on the information that she requires regarding both diet and exercise, nothing is going to change. She’s completely attached to the ‘way she’s always done things’. It’s a comfort zone that we as human beings settle into and defend vigorously and it is a massive blocker to success.
The irony is that when we get properly informed, once we access the essential knowledge that we require to meaningfully engage with the systems designed to aid us in achieving our goals, then we often need to do significantly less work to achieve those goals. Simply knowing what food to put in one’s mouth whenever we eat, understanding how to activate one’s body and fat burning metabolic processes all day long without overkill on the gym workouts. This is a game changer.
I say this because with knowledge comes the power to make informed decisions, and our brain accepts informed decisions way more easily than it does the concept of a diet or a regimental training program.
This principle applies to every single aspect of business, relationships, leadership, sport, and any other areas of life where there exists objectives and challenges to the achievement of those desired outcomes.
Yes set the goals, and yes definitely build the systems, but get informed. Assumption is a success killer, and it is everywhere. Whatever it is that you’re looking to achieve, break the patterns that have hampered your progress, access new information that takes you out of your comfort zone, and create a new intelligent success zone where you consciously stretch yourself to bigger and better achievements.
There has been no better time in history than right now to plug in to the wealth of information that you carry in your pocket or handbag. Literally, every piece of knowledge on the planet is contained in that smart mobile device. Use it!
Brad Shorkend is an agitator, thought provoker, executive and business coach, wingman, high performance junkie, speaker and author, leader and entrepreneur. He coaches and mentors across all industries working mostly with CEOs, MDs, Exco teams, leadership at all levels of organisations, high potential individuals, teams, entrepreneurs and goal-oriented achievers. Through his thinking agency Urban Everest Lateral Thinking, Brad’s primary areas of focus are strategy, innovation, leadership development, culture, critical conversations, and accessing intelligence in organisations. He has also founded and led businesses across numerous sectors such as architecture, entrepreneurial education, music, retail, beauty, telecommunications, real estate, fashion, building construction, and technology to name a few. Brad is also adjunct faculty at Duke CE.