The Clarity and Focus Needed to Master Goal-Setting

Be so clear in your goals that you consider all obstacles as hurdles to power through. One who is clear on achieving this does not waste even a second to focus on what is stopping them from achieving their goals.

There are so many times where we set goals for ourselves, but when we actually get started on these journeys we are often dumbfounded at the amount of hurdles we need to conquer. We’ve all been in these situations before – where we paint visions in our minds of accomplishing things and how badly we want to attain such achievements and soon, months and years pass and these goals only exist tucked away in the corners of our imaginations, the ideas of them muted and reduced to a tiny thought that we dare not open up Pandora’s box again.

Most of us think of goals and accomplishments as huge rewards in life that requires a lot of motivation and laborious activity to obtain. When we think of goals, we almost liken them to the unattainable or categorise them in buckets of things that are hard to reach, but still realistic within our realm of capabilities. After all, no one sets goals for themselves that don’t require any effort or energy expenditure or they wouldn’t be called goals, nor would they provide any sort of reward or satisfaction. In light of this, goals are almost defined as entertaining in the thought of reaching the perceived impossible; of achieving a state of something we are not today.

Cue midnight fireworks on December 31st, alcoholic concoctions of spirits and mixers that blur the night up until the first rays of sunshine peeks through the horizon of the new year and amidst all the woozy laughter and stumbles as the party dies down, someone is bound to ask, “So what are your New Year resolutions?” And we’ve all been there before, as we rattle off the goals from the top of our head; those crowd favourites that resonate within most of us: hit the gym more, clean up my eating habits, focus on work and get promoted, spend more time with family, do things that make me happy, and the list goes on.

These are all rewarding goals that we try to focus on but many of us falter prematurely. These resolutions are mere thoughts and ideas that we allow ourselves to entertain in and relish in how good it would make us feel once we hit these targets. We easily identify what it is that we need to work on and lack in our current life, but we make the mistake in not meticulously identifying the path in obtaining said goals.

Goal-setting is not a thought. It is not a fleeting idea that comes and goes in our minds. It is not what we hope to one day achieve. It is not a “shoot for the moon because even if you miss you will land amongst the stars” scenario. It is not something you poke with a stick then never speak about again. A goal loses the definition of everything that it is as soon as you lose sight of how you get there.

Goal-setting is a lifestyle. It needs planning, it needs action, it needs constant evolving and nurture and reworks. It needs to be visualised and talked about, and it needs to be reflected in your daily lifestyle and attitude. It needs a clear indication of what you will do and it needs direction of where you are moving towards. It needs a timeline, it needs energy, it needs to be fueled correctly and it needs to be shaped and moulded according to how we change and grow.

This is where obstacles come in – and no doubt you will definitely experience obstacles. You need to be so clear and focussed in what you want, that you see through your obstacles. Those who are not well equipped in goal-setting become fixated on obstacles that appear, labelling them as setbacks and feel that their motivation has been destroyed or that life is getting in the way of their success. Those who are well versed in goal-setting are so clear on what they want to achieve; they are so intent on getting there, that they simply work past or around these hindrances.

Think of your journey to work in the morning and all the scenarios you have encountered – train delays, forgotten wallet, broken down car, torrential rain, low on petrol, new shoes causing your feet to blister, over-crowded public transport, slight onset of feverish chills – the list goes on. Big or small, these are hindrances causing grief and difficulty over a simple task – your commute to work. But more often than not, none of the above stops us from completing this journey, simply because we are so intent and focussed on getting to work. This may encompass taking a different route, using a different transport method, tolerating unusual daily occurrences and doing everything we can in our ability to achieve our goal. And more often than not, depending on the severity of these hindrances, it will affect the outcome of turning up to work. We could be late, maybe a little bit or a lot. We could have soaking wet clothes from the rain. We might turn up to work realising we are in fact extremely sick. We may have missed our 9am client meeting, or the presentation we were due to deliver. And yet, we continue to work around these obstacles once we enter the office. The point here is that there was a goal to be achieved, and no matter the roadblocks, we did everything in our power to reach our destination.  

Set goals that mean so much to you that it’s all you can focus your actions on, because only when you achieve that level of commitment and clarity do you not see any of life’s hindrances as roadblocks, but mere obstacles to power through.

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