We Often set goals, for example: I want to be successful, or what ever the goal is. All goals have that final destination, whether its getting to the top, or getting that Job, that car, or that house.
What I’ve noticed is we come up with a plan on how to do this, lets say for the example the goal is getting into shape and being more healthy.
So we create a plan which is: Go to gym everyday and start eating healthy food. What I’ve noticed is we put so much pressure on ourselves that we end up regressing (go backwards) and we never attain our goals.
What are we doing wrong? Why does this happen?
After many years of working on my personal development I’ve come to a realisation that we fail because we focus on the end goal too much. When we should be focusing on doing the things that will help us attain the goal.
In the software world many projects have failed because of trying to deliver the entire solution in one big bang. Now you may ask what does software have to do with not attaining our goals? I’m a Software Developer and I’m currently doing a course on Software Engineering. In this course there’s an article by Barry Boehm “A View of 20th and 21st Century Software Engineering
” in which he takes us through the evolution of Software Engineering by examining, process, approaches, trends, principles, methods, concurrent (agile), sequential process (waterfall),etc…
One of the main problems was (and still is) trying to design and spec all features that would be needed for the software. This process was and still is plagued with a lack of knowing the actual goal of the software. The client has some sort of understanding what they want but translating this into formal design, usually items missed, these are usually discovered later in the process when development has started already. Now that means going into another design session to see how these new pieces would fit, and this would be a back and forth thing eventually this project would fail.
So as software engineers discovered this problem, some changed the approach to an iterative approach where some design is done upfront, key features are selected from a list and they are developed in a sprint lets say 2 to 3 weeks. These feature the deployed after the sprint.
So coming back to goals and why we sometimes don’t attain them. I think like software, we need to adapt the plan originally set out, to be more of an iterative plan.
My conclusion is almost like software engineering we have to treat our goals the same. Set a goal, see the big picture, plan how you going to achieve it, then put the big picture aside, focus on doing the steps in your plan, for example if you want to get into the shape and your plan is go to gym everyday. Then go to gym everyday for the next 3 to 4 weeks, don’t worry about how you are doing, just focus on getting to the gym everyday. once you’ve been going to gym everyday for 3 to 4 weeks, you find that now your goal of getting into shape would have changed, now it might be; okay great I’m starting to get into shape but I see that my gym will be more effective if I start eating healthy food. Now you have a new item added to your list, and you may plan accordingly. Example everyday you going to gym now, but now you’ve also update your diet to a healthy one. You do this for next 3 to 4 weeks later, your eating healthy, gyming everyday but now you want to add on something else, well you repeat the iterative process…
I think you will have more success with this iterative approach than if you bundled up all the things you want into one big goal example, this year: I want to get into shape, and I want to eat healthy food