By now most of us would have set some form of goals and/or resolutions for 2016.

And that a good thing! I encourage everyone to set goals as they are so important for our emotional and psychological well-being.

We know our minds can be lazy and, unless they have direction and focus, can wander into negative areas. This leads to feelings of depression, stress, sadness, lack of energy, overthinking and self-doubt.

The benefits of goals are that not only do they drive our lives and move us forward, they also satisfy our “3 brain rules”.

 

Our brains require

1. clarity,

2. certainty, and

3. concentration

 

The focus of setting and moving towards goals satisfies these rules.  But goal setting is the easy bit. The hard bit is achieving them.

There is some research indicating that not achieving set goals is worse for our wellbeing than not setting goals at all! So it is very important that we work towards achieving our goals.

 

So, what advice can I offer in achieving your goals? As Bruce Lee would say – be like water.

Certainly be structured in setting goals, using the SMARTER or similar approaches, but be like water in achieving them.

 

What do I mean by this? Only that there is no one way to achieve goals – whichever way suits you is OK. My advice is be open to different ways and pragmatic in your approach to goal achievement.

Those people who believe there is only one way to achieve goals will operate in a “straitjacket’ way, resulting in them missing opportunities that will arise through the journey.

Goal achievement is not meant to be a fixed rigorous process. I observe so many people at a personal, team and organisational level who sets goals and then believe that reality of progress must suit the goal. WRONG !! It’s the other way around. Your goal and movement towards those goals must reflect reality.

 

This is where we can turn Bruce Lee for advice to achieve goals. Be like water!!

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves”.

In other words be flexible, be open to different ways to achieve goals, respond to opportunities and as the proverb goes “God draws straight with crooked lines”. Keep the end objective in mind and stay determined in your goal achievement – but be flexible – be like water.

Reality, based on evidence and experience, must determine our behaviour.

 

So in goal setting for 2016, apply the following techniques;

– Set your goals – using the SMARTER process (or one of one of the other goal setting techniques),

– Develop ways to keep those goals in focus,

– Develop ways to monitor progress towards those goals, and

– Take corrective action – adjust your direction, flow and strength to achieve those goals. Be like water.

 

When you do take corrective action, it doesn’t mean you have failed in achieving your goal, or your goal is irrelevant – it means you have been courageous enough to stop, reflect and act in a more relevant and meaningful manner.

“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”