To goal, or not to goal? That is the question.

LCS 31: Happy New Arbitrary Date in the Calendar

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It’s amazing when someone completely change their views on a certain issue. Admittedly, this seems rare in our increasingly polarized world, but it does still happen.

One area I’ve witness over time is goals and new year resolutions. I’ve seen writers advise setting goals one year (If you don’t you’ll never achieve anything) and then chastise those who set goals the next (resolutions almost always fail, it’s far better to do X instead).

There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a sign of growth on the writer/blogger.

The issue I have is when they fail to acknowledge the change in view, especially when they patronize those who hold the other view. It was not long ago that they were so ignorant.

With New Years goals, some bloggers I’ve followed seem to flip flop between the two each year. In fact, I’ve heard convincing arguments for both sides.
Personally, I’ve adopted one of these strange hybrid positions, influenced heavily by Shawn Blanc and the focus course.

The basic idea is you set value and identities for certain areas of your life. Then, you create some goal that might embody that values or show you have reached a certain point, and thing of regular actions you could take to progress towards that goal.

An fitness example

  • Identity: To be a health individual who can sprint up a flight of stairs without needing to catch my breath for five minutes afterwards.

  • Goal: Run a marathon

  • regular action: go for a two minute jog down the road each day (and expand from there).

Of course, there are a few extra details but you get the idea.

The main point of the system is that while your values are unlikely to change, your goals and habits may.

You may realize that you don’t like running and don’t want to run a marathon, no problem! You may think that a HIIT workout is a better daily action, cool. Neither is an issue.

The system isn’t flawless, but I’ve found it to be a good balance for myself and it places the focus on action.

Creative Challenge: Adopt the opposite position

Sometimes we can get so caught in our ways of thinking, we become blind to what is right in front of us. One way around that is to adopt the opposite idea for a while. This could be a big idea (like a world view) or something small (like “wide angle lenses are the best for street photography”).
When you adopt the opposite view, you may confirm your traditional belief or approach. But you may also notice something different, something unexpected. Sometime it’s a small thing (isolating a subject can lead to great effects in street photography) and sometimes its revolutionary.

Try the opposite idea or action for a change and see what you can discover.

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