When it comes to your goals, what is the big picture? What is your task at hand? In order to find out and in order to understand the relationship between the two you have to zoom in and zoom out.
Our Complex World
We live in a world where everything is very complex and interconnected. If we do one thing, this has influence on many other things.
For example, if we do not go for a run today, our heart might become weaker and we might die five years earlier. In contrast, if we go for a run today, we might get struck by lightning and we die today. OK, that might be a bit pessimistic.
The thing is, everything we do has consequences. And this is true also for everything we don’t do.
The Big Picture and the Task at Hand
Another example. Let’s say our big goal is to travel Latin America for half a year and to start the journey within one year. You see, the deadline is important when we set goals. And now we have this tiny task to attend our one-hour, online Spanish lesson after a busy day at work. Do we always picture our big goal and accomplish our tasks highly motivated?
It is easy to lose sight of the big picture if you have a to-do list full of tasks, filling up quicker than you can work it off. If you are in a similar situation two simple questions might help.
Why shall I do this task?
The Why is very important when it comes to your goals. It is also very important when it comes to your tasks. Let’s take the above example of the Spanish lesson. Why is this important? Of course speaking Spanish will be of immense help when travelling Latting America. Check.
What is the impact?
What is the actual impact of a certain task? Now it gets tricky. The impact of small tasks usually is not that big. And this is a problem. So, for our above example, if you miss the Spanish lesson because you are exhausted and rather go for a drink with your friends, the lost impact on your goal might be quite small. Maybe going out with friends can even motivate you further and thus have a positive impact on your goal. However, if you drop your Spanish lesson every time, the consequences can be dramatic.
The cure is to find the right balance and to say No more often.
Goal Setting Is a Journey
Goal setting is a journey, sometimes with an open destination. You want to achieve something – your goal. But, there might be different representations of your goal. There are definitely different possible paths to reach it. Every single step on your journey towards your goal is a task. It means work, you can stumble, you can fall, you can even recognise you are lost and you need to find your way again.
In order to reach your goal you have to know your goal, you have to know the path and then you need to walk along your path. If you get lost, you need to adapt and find your way again. If you stumble and fall (which you will if it is a big goal), you need to stand up. You need to keep walking until you are finally there.
This is the goal-setting process. One thing is certain, your goal will not come to you.
While on your journey, from time to time, you can use your binoculars and watch the summit (your goal). This helps you to keep the big picture in mind. You will also see whether you are still heading into the right direction.
Now It Is Your Turn
Now it is your turn. Take some time to zoom in. Review your to-do list and check why the tasks are on this list and what impact they might have on your goals. Is there anything you can say No to? In the course of the day and week, actively recognize what you are doing. You can set reminders every two hours or so. Are these activities helpful for your goals?
Take some time to zoom out. See the big picture and where you want to go. Are you still on track? Do you need to adapt?