Tag Archives: purpose

5 Reasons Why Goals are Essential

This is about the time of the year when new year resolutions have come to a halt or a distant memory.  You may have started January with great gusto but now in February, those resolutions are either forgotten or just too hard and therefore ends in the “tried but failed” graveyard.

Let me highlight and remind you why goals are important:

  1. Goals help you to focus your energy and time.  We do not have an endless supply of time or energy.  Goals will help you to focus or prioritise how and what you will use your energy and time for.  Goals will help you to make the right decision and trade-offs when confronted with multiple requests or tasks.
  2. Goals help you to persevere with hope.  Sounds strange but if we set realistic expectations and goals, it is able to motivate us.  Motivation and hope serves as fuel for perseverance.  It is the reaching of a realistic but challenging goal that will drive you forward.  The hope that reaching that goal will give you a reward will help you to persevere.  The reward is up to you to define.
  3. Goals are character building.  More than the achievement of the goal is the process by which it was achieved.  More often than not, the process of struggling, striving, persevering and challenging yourself in achieving the goal builds character.  We learn more about ourselves through the process as well as building muscles in areas like focus, commitment, dedication, perseverance and discipline.
  4. Goals ensure that you line up your potential.  Potential cannot be realised if we don’t work at it.  Potential can only be released when it is applied.  Potential must be worked on.  Goals will help you work on your potential as it requires application of your potential.  When you are working at it, your skills and abilities are being developed.  Potential with work will bring you accomplishments.
  5. Goals will drive you forward.  Goals will drive you forward whilst being goal-less will cause you to drift.  Drifting through life is one of the most wasteful use of your potential.  Driving forward will ensure that you are taking accountability for your life.  Goals that drive you forward will always give you significance.

The challenge with goals is that is can be scary and terrifying.  It is terrifying because of the fear of failure.  No one wants to fail at achieving a goal.  Therefore in order to avoid failure, it is easier to not have goals.  However, to fail at a goal does not equate to you being a failure.  In fact, it simply means that you did not achieve the goal for whatever the reason.  In the working out of the goal, the real outcome is lesson.  What did you learn?  What could you do differently?  What needs to change?  How could I overcome this barrier?

Goals will give you a purpose.  A “why” am I doing this.  Every person who you would consider as successful, would certainly have goals in their life.  So don’t give up on having goals for yours.  Make goals or continue in persevering and working on the goals that you have set.

How do you set goals?  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does a successful year look like to you?
  • What areas of my life am I “fed-up” with that I want to change?
  • What stops me from having goals?
  • If I could do anything, what would that be?
  • If there were no limits, what could I accomplish?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What do I want to learn this year?
  • If I don’t have any ideas, where can I go to get some ideas?  Who can I talk to?
  • What is a realistic and yet challenging goal?
  • What do I need to have in place in order to achieve my goals?

Take the time and set at least a couple of goals for yourself this year.  You will look back and know that 2017 is a year that you have accomplished much.

Purpose for the year in 2 words.

I am sure that hearing the word “mission statement” or “purpose” will bring out two common reaction, fear and avoidance or focus and passion.  It just seems so big and impossible to figure out.  And yet, deep down, each of us has that need to know.  To know or have an idea on what you are working towards is important to give us a sense of worth.  It is no surprise that people who have a clear purpose in life, walk a more focus and rewarding path as oppose to those who do not have a clear purpose.

Sometimes, it comes naturally to us.  Most times, it is a act of focus concentration to figure it out.  No matter which camp you are in, the truth is, it is in your hands.  For most of us, at work, goals and action plans are set for us by the company and our managers.  All that is left for us to think about is the actual numeric goal and actions to  be taken.  However, in a broader context of our overall lives, that takes a little more effort because it has to align with what is important to us.

At the start of year, it is always a great exercise to spent some time to reflect on what went well, what did not, what you would like to do differently as well as what you would like to accomplish in the new year.  Each of us would have either ended last year feeling like we have accomplished much or not.  Regardless of what happened last year, that is the past.  This new year is the present and the future.  Therefore we have the power to start it differently and purposefully.

I would like to challenge you to just think about your purpose in just 2 words.  Writing a mission statement or purpose can be scary especially with the fear of structuring a sentence well or that it has to be inspiring and brilliant.  However, as nice as that would be, it is not necessary for you to get to that point.  To get started, its about making it simple and clear.  Simplicity and clarity will help you to form further substance as you go along.  After all, life is a journey.  Therefore with only 2 words, the level of complexity and fear factor decreases substantially.

As we have taken the complexity out of the equation, anyone can give it go and come up with just 2 words that best describe your purpose.  Let’s start by structuring how you would think about your purpose for this new year.

  • What are your core values?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are your dreams?
  • What areas are of interest to you?

I find this simple method as an easy starting point.

  • Think about words that resonate with your values.  Write them down.  For example, hard work, commitment, dedication, service, honesty, integrity, learning, risk-taking, change, adventures, travels etc.
  • From the list of words above, select words that resonate the strongest with you.  Pick 2 words.  Those are probably the key 2 words of your purpose as they align strongest with your core values.  For example, service and learning could be the 2 words.
  • Try structuring a sentence with those words that would align with what your purpose or mission might look like.  For example, “To serve a certain community of interest and to strive to continual learn and explore new ideas and innovations”.  It does not have to be perfect, just enough to give it a structure as a starting point.
  • Test it out by sharing it someone.  Expand on it.  Does it resonate with you?  Would others agree and have observed it in you?
  • Keep refining it until it sits comfortable with you.  It should feel inspirational and motivational for you.

Once you get it about right, you will know it.  It will sit well with you and you will feel the passion and excitement from it.  Then you know that you have figured out your purpose.

Give it a go.  It might seem hard as a start but once you start going, it will get easier and it is fun.

The next step from that is to build a structure and plans around those 2 key words of your purpose for the year.  I will cover that next week.

3 ways to get out of boredom

There are moments in our day where we get this strange feeling of boredom.  At work, busy as we might be, there are times when this feeling of boredom just sets in.  At home, even though there is a mountain of household chores to do, boredom sets in.   What causes that?  I have discovered that there are  3 common causes of boredom:

  1. Routine:  The work has become routine.  It is no longer challenging or exciting.  You could do it with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back.
  2. Meaningless:  There is a sense that all these actions or things before you is meaningless.  Whether it is completed well or not, brings no real satisfaction.  It does not bring about a sense of accomplishment.
  3. Too much or no activity:  At both ends of the activity spectrum, there is a sense of too much or lack of “things” to do.  Too much activities will cause burned out scenario and no activity will just make you into a slug.

What do we need to do to find a balanced and meaningful way to feel significant?  What do we need to do to get out of “boredom”?

I find that there are 3 ways of going about this:

    1. Experiment:  Try new activities.  Test them out.  Even in the most routine of activities, try something different.  For example, if vacuuming the house is your least favourite activity, try vacuuming with your favourite dance music.  Try vacuuming different section of the house first.  Play a game of finders keepers.  Another good option is to pick a new activity that you might like to learn.  Even you don’t think you would be good at it or even like, just give it a go.  For example, I never thought much of gardening.  I decided that maybe I will give it go and plant some herbs and invest into an organic lifestyle.  Never did I imagine that I could actually successfully grow herbs but actually quite enjoy the fruits of my labour.
    2. Know your purpose:  Purpose drives a lot of our behaviour and motivation.  Without a clear sense of purpose, it is hard to go through the drudgery of life and feel that your life is meaningful.  Each of us are created to play a part for the greater good of mankind.  A quick way to discover what your purpose might be:
      1. Write:  Start by writing down a simple list:
        1. What do you enjoy?
        2. What are you good at?
        3. What are not good at?
        4. What are you passionate about?
        5. What do you want to accomplish?
        6. What would  others say about you?

 

Identify key or common words:

 

    1. Identify some common words that you have written down.  They could be values that you hold important or desires to accomplish.
    2. For example, you might find words like creative, travel, change, challenges etc. common and exciting to you.
    3. Write a sentence that would best encapsulate what you have written down.  Read it out aloud.  Read it out to your partner or friend and see how that resonates.

Once you have discovered what feels right and comes naturally to you, you could well be on your way to discovering what your purpose is.

3.  Find enjoyment in at least one activity:  Find an activity or exercise that you enjoy.  Whether its walking, running, golfing, dancing etc.  It does not matter what that activity is so long as its an exercise that will cause you to work those muscles and heart and as a result will cause your body to naturally produce feel good hormone, serotonin.  By the way, I don’t think that Candy Crush would qualify:)

To put it all together, when you are feeling “bored” in the workplace, go for a walk, explore new ideas or ways of doing your job and you will be surprise at how new ideas will bring about a change in your mindset.  There are times, for me, all I have to do is rearrange my  desk and I would feel like its something new and exciting.  Especially when I have rearranged it so well that I would not be playing hide and seek with my stuff.  It is a change in mindset, a small change is sometimes all we need to get going again.

View boredom as a means of change and it brings about new ideas and exciting possibilities because your mind is begging you to do something different.