This time of year seems to contain a natural rhythm within it related to reflecting on the year past along with focusing on the year to come.
Here are some of my thoughts on goals and time that I have been entertaining these past weeks.
Goals set solely from the mind can indeed be achieved, but their longevity and the resulting satisfaction may be temporary—I have learned this point the hard way. However, goals that are aligned with our highest values—or those things that reflect our interests, passions and purpose—contain within them a power: both for accomplishment and maintaining of such. We are likely to achieve them faster and be more content upon their arrival.
The values-goal alignment is a powerful force that most don’t recognise in the goal-setting process but is well worth paying attention to. This applies to both the personal and corporate goal-setting process.
The Catholic scholar G.K. Chesterton states that “When you choose anything, you reject everything else…Every act is an irrevocable selection and exclusion.” *
When we choose to work on a quotation, for example, we are excluding everything else in the moment. Given this selection and exclusion process, it pays to be mindful of the extreme importance to be working on the highest priority task at any given time.
This is why re-active work is so detrimental to progress. When our days are those of putting out fires and bouncing from the urgent to the urgent, advancement is stymied.
As you plan the year and establish goals for yourself and your organisation— and even if you have already completed the exercise—I would suggest the following:
- Ensure highest priority tasks relate directly to goal fulfilment and are scheduled into your diary.
- Create a stop doing list and beside each item, list how you are going to cease from this activity.
- Plan tomorrow today; next week this week. This method creates a higher success/fulfilment rate of top priority tasks.
I was watching the ocean waves last week and realised that each wave as it broke, would never happen again. The moment was gone. And so it is with each tick of the clock.
*G.K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy” in The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton Vol:1, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1986