How to Set Creative Goals That Literally Draw You to Success
"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading." Lao-Tzu
Viva La Difference
What life goals are you pursuing? Are you wanting to shed some pounds, or perhaps wanting to lower your blood pressure, or just have fewer and fewer headaches? Or, are you simply wanting to attain good health? Can you see a difference?
Look at another major area of challenge for many folks--finances. What financial goals are you going after? Are you wanting to get out from under all these bills that seem to come in so frequently, or are you wanting to reduce your large mortgage or monthly car payment? Or are you simply wanting to achieve financial freedom-whatever definition you put on that term? Can you see the difference?
Yes, the differences are subtle. They are small. To some they may seem trivial, largely semantical, and maybe even nonsensical. But I would like to propose that the differences are huge and will have a major impact on whether or not you ever attain your goal.
Running From or Running To?
You see in one case they are stated as what you are running from, trying to avoid, unsatisfied with, etc. In essence, they are stated from a rather negative point-of-view. On the other hand, the other goals are stated in a more positive manner, i.e., what it is that you are running toward, wanting to bring into reality.
Did you know that most people can't answer the simple question, "What do you want in life?" They can easily tell you what they don't want, but can't begin to tell you what they do want. Their response to the question will always be stated in terms of what they don't want. Isn't that sad? Where is their focus? Obviously, it's on what they're dissatisfied with. I'm sure you've heard that what you focus on multiplies and grows. Are you beginning to see the problem here?
When defining a goal, you want the focus to be on where you want to be rather than on where you are. Don't misunderstand me, both are important, and a little later we'll talk more about the importance of really getting a handle on where you currently are. But for the goal articulation step, the focus should always be on what it is that you are wanting to see.
Simple, Three-Step Approach
I recently was exposed to a new goal setting approach for business that made me realize that it's not only applicable to our network marketing business, but also to our coaching business, and to almost any other area of our personal lives where we want to move from our current reality to a desired future. The process is called the creative process and has been developed over the course of several years by Robert Fritz, widely recognized as an expert in the area of structural dynamics.
It's an incredibly powerful process while being amazingly simple at the same time. You start by stating your goal or desired future. And of course, that's what we've been talking about up until now. It must be a goal stated in terms of what you want, not what you don't want anymore. I won't go into it in this article, but a goal should be a SMART goal to be effective (SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time specific).
Next, you need to articulate the current reality, or where you are now, at this moment. I believe you can see the necessity for this--for example, if your goal is to go to Chicago, it would be helpful to know whether you're in Virginia Beach or in Los Angeles. Otherwise you're feet might get pretty wet. It's in this step of articulating current reality that it's entirely appropriate to state what you want to move away from.
In actual point of fact, the more dissatisfied you are with your current reality, the more power (Fritz calls it "structural tension") you will have to move toward your goal. So there is an actual advantage in making what you don't want sound as unlikable as you can while still being truthful about it.
Then finally, the last step in the creative process is to define a few action steps (along with dates) that will move you toward where you want to be. They don't have to be big, gargantuan steps...they could be quite simple and small steps. An amazing fact is that, over time, the even the smallest of steps will add up to that big gargantuan step. If you're not too sure about what steps to take, follow the Nike commercials, "Just Do It!" Just do something...anything. Action is the magic key to goal attainment. Of course the action has got to be moving you in the right direction.
Failure not Allowed
And that's the beauty of the creative process. What if you find your action steps have been taking you in the wrong direction? Simply stop doing those action items and replace them with ones that are going in the right direction. No failure! No condemnation! It's just a learning process. It's growth! You've learned that what you were doing is going in the wrong direction. Just make the change. No big deal. Isn't that simple? And empowering?
All you need to add is a little support in the form of accountability and you're off and running toward fulfillment of another goal.