Goals versus Visions

Vision - by Fellowship of the Rich on flickr

A friend of mine posted a question on twitter and Facebook about goals:

My response to her was pretty much a blog post on her wall, so I thought I would re-post it here:

What I have found, in many instances, is that what many people feel are “goals” is really better called “a vision”; A vision for what they want to be like or become. The two can be easily confused, and because of this a strong sense of frustration and lack of accomplishment gets felt because a vision is so much harder to realize and achieve than a goal. Many “resolutions” that are made at the new year fall into this trap.

I resolve to be healthier… I resolve to get thinner… I resolve to save more… I resolve to spend more time with family…

All of the above are great and wonderful “visions” for what people really want to happen… However, none of them are goals. All ARE achievable, but, none easily and many who actually achieve them, are rarely satisfied because “it” is “not what they thought it would be like…” or less than they “imagined” it would be. This is because a vision in it’s very nature is hard to define in concrete terms…

Goals are the road map or mile markers (sticking with that metaphor) to achieve a vision… Think about it this way… I resolve to lost weight… So, after a year even if I lost 10lbs… I am not sure if I would be happy as that was not the “goal” I had in mind when I made my resolution… I could even have lost 50lbs, and still not be happy because I still don’t look “the way I wanted to” in my clothes…

As Katie mentioned in her tweet, goals must be attainable… I look at goals as helping to attempt to define what that “vision” is that I want. So, if I am thinking about losing weight. I need to make a very specific attainable goal that also has a timeframe associated with it. That is the only way I am going to be able to know how I am moving toward achieving my goal and therefore my vision. So, let’s keep going with this example:

I want to lose weight. Specifically, I want to lost 25lbs in the next year.

Again good, but the timeframe allows for too much time to play the yo-yo before I “get serious”. So, if I want to stick to that goal, I should set a second goal for losing 5lbs over the next 2 months… Or about a pound a week… Easily measurable, I have a good timeframe to work with to achieve this interim goal… An additional suggestion I would have would be to begin to think about HOW you are going to achieve the goal at the time of setting the goal. This will help you to determine if you goal is achiveable or are you asking too much of yourself in the how

As an example: to achieve my goal I will eat less than 1000 calories and work out twice a day for an hour… While you can try, you may be setting yourself up for failure and that plan seems quite agressive.

The how can also be a second goal in and of itself as well. Here is an example: To achieve my weight loss vision, I will work to lose 2.5lbs each month BY adding a vegetable to each meal and eliminating one starch from what I typically eat each day. A second goal will be to begin a walking regimen adding 1 mile to my daily routine increasing that each month up to a maximum of 10 miles a week…

The difference is that I have a vision of what I want, measurable goals along the way and a plan for how I am going to achieve the goals… This might seem a bit silly some times, but it helps to provide an understanding of what you are going to commit yourself (or others) to in order to get what you want…

Two last thoughts… First, I would suggest working hard to define what it is that you really want… Even with a vision, you can achieve it and still feel empty… Second, be ok with changing goals or your vision… Life often gets in the way of even good plans.

Finally, celebrate!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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