There are some folks who say you ought to know your goals inside and out or else you’ll never accomplish them.
Others advise against setting goals at all because you might not even accomplish them.
Well….? Which is the right approach? Let’s look closer…
Camp #1: You MUST have a goal!
These folks say that if you don’t have a goal, it’s like having a bullet with no gunpowder — you’re shooting an empty bullet and so you’ll never hit your target.
These goal-setting aficionados are very intense about having specific, detailed goals and keeping short accounts. You practically need an abacus to live over here because they expect such a huge level of detail and organization.
Camp #2: Goals are for up-tight nerds who don’t “get it”.
These folks are very non-goal centric. They say that it’s best to live in the moment — to live each day the best you can.
To these folks, progress is found in your commitment to excellence: You should be 100% present in the moment rather than focusing on the future because who knows what the future may hold.
And then, of course, there is…
Camp #3: Just Right…
I have spent years living in both of the above camps. I have swung hard to the detailed-goal-setting side; and I have swung hard to the other side as well.
And — surprise! — there is wisdom in both sides.
I prefer to live in the middle, bringing together the healthy and valuable aspects of each camp.
A goal without a system is just a dream. Something you’d love to see happen but which you’re not taking any meaningful action toward.
A system without a goal is just rote discipline that may not even be taking you anywhere in the right direction. (Remember that in order to be productive, you need clarity on where you are going.)
Goals Are Valuable Because They Offer Direction
Goals give you a direction to move toward and they help you make decisions.
When you are clear about your goals, you can also be smarter about the action you need to take in order to get there.
Systems Are Valuable Because They Create Progress
Goals don’t complete themselves.
You want a system that makes it easy to show up every day and get the right things done is the most powerful ways to ensure your daily progress toward the things you care about.
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Which of these seems most important to you right now?
Are you struggling to clarify your goals? Or are you frustrated by the systems you have and not seeing the type of progress you want?