While goals are essential to moving forward, we should never forget that it is in the journey that the richest parts of life can be found. Dr Asma Naheed explains why we must always consider our direction as much as the end result
“Our time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drown your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
Goals are a necessary tool of life-planning, they guide you in the long run and motivate you in the short run. Goals help you better manage the limited time and energy you have, they define the path, so you don’t get lost or run around in circles. A clear goal tells you to avoid wasting time on the sidetracks. They are the best foundation for your drive to move forward in life, a concrete endpoint to aim for and get excited about. However, they are not the whole story. As with many things in life, the journey – and the direction that your goals have set you in – is just as important as whether you reach your end goal or not.
I have worked with many high achievers who have reached their goals, but ended up missing their lives in the process, trapped by the strict boundaries they have created. Often these people reach their goals only to discover that they were the wrong goals, that they were on the wrong path all along because no one taught them how to set goals that would give them the life and the career they truly wanted.
Setting the direction of your life journey is like adjusting the sails. Instead of setting life goals, I believe on setting a life direction, which means we need to figure out the things that would create a fun, meaningful, and compelling journey for us.
We can have all the potential in the world but without focus our abilities and talent are useless. Think about how sunlight can’t burn through anything without a magnifying glass focusing it, in a similar way, we can’t achieve anything unless a goal is focusing our effort. Because goals are what give us direction in life. By setting goals for yourself you give yourself a target to shoot for. This sense of direction is what allows your mind to focus on a target and rather than waste precious energy shooting aimlessly.
The month of December is an ideal time to think about our goals. Ultimately, of course, it doesn’t matter if you don’t reach your end goal, as long as you are moving in the right direction, that is all that really matters. This exercise below may help in setting your own direction for the year ahead.
Ask yourself the following questions:
How do I want to spend my time?
What do I want to learn?
What I had learned so far?
Who do I want to hang out with? Talk with? Collaborate with?
Where are my inspirations coming from?
Among all the things I could do in life, what do I care about most?
What are my high priorities?
As Brain Tracy once said, “Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favour”. For the new year – and the start of a new decade – make sure you’re going in the right one.