Originally Posted by Johnny Skosnik
How goals should be phrased is an interesting topic. In one of Steve's earlier articles
he mentioned they should be specific, have a firm future due date and easily answer the question "have I reached this goal?" More recently (May 2006) he posted
My take: the former type of goal is "I earn X dollars / month by selling my artwork by December of this year." The latter: "I am an artist who recognizes and is inspired by the natural beauty all around me and makes others aware of it through my art."
I like the second approach. The first turns the goal into an intimidating uber-task that must
be done before this date or it's total fail. The second, in contrast, is more a mindset, a state of being. Now how to ensure that this mindset is actively maintained and doesn't become a fantasy, a delusion? That's where you have tasks that maintain this mindset goal: "I will meditate for ten minutes each day." "I will create ten sketches per week." "I will find a new place outdoors to paint each month." "I will attend at least one art class per semester at my local community college." Note there are no hard deadlines, but rather tasks that should be done every day / week / month / semester. If a task slips it's not a disaster but a gentle reminder to get back on track, there's always next time. Conversely when the tasks are done for now you can honestly claim your reality is congruent with your mindset goal and feel accomplished.
Very interesting post and a fine example of one of the things that bugs me about PD. Goal setting is a grass roots wholesome topic for PD- aspirations that become goals form the basis of change (hopefully for the better)- and surely that's the aim of PD.
And to an extent, this confusion is where it all falls apart. Instead of just being able to "Set goals" and then get on with it, we are now faced with options- chances to analyse and assess which "goal" setting method works best for us- which lens to view through. And it's almost like you have to scrape everything right back to the "way the world really works" to get your answers. The problem is- no one knows!
It sounds great to state a goal, to be specific about it and put a deadline onto it. In reality this is probably how most things are achieved. But now if you start saying we only exist in "the now" we are once again out of our depth in the muddy waters. It's almost like we set out to make an extra 10 dollars but we have to assess how the universe works in order to set a goal to do so.
This is why Steve's newletter article was so good- it at least narrowed down (fairly clearly I thought) the types of goals we should ideally be setting. But now I see confusion arising from that- surely this is bread and butter basics? Sometimes it feels like standing close to the north pole and trying to use a compass!