“Make Sure you Take Time For Yourself”, “Don’t Burn Out”, “Don’t Let Life Pass You By”. These are things that I have been hearing from caring and concerned friends and family for 15 years now.
They mean well, and their thoughts have all the best intentions behind them, but it has made me think often about goals. My goals, the goals of others and how they affect the way we live our lives, the way we work, the way we play and even the way we rest.
I have some very specific goals, and while I rarely spend time re-establishing them, I often take a moment to re-focus on them and make sure that I am not being distracted by excess noise, or unnecessary wants.
The more specific your goal, and the more narrow your focus the easier it is to work on a path to achieving them. However most people say their goal is one thing… But what they mean is much, much more.
For some examples, there are times when I have said that my goal is to be in very good physical shape. I’m sure that most of us have been there! If that was my only goal, it would be fairly simple, not easy, but simple to plan. It would require adequate exercise, nutrition, rest and in due course I would be in good physical shape. However, many times I have had the goal of being in good shape, but also, I didn’t want to be bored with my training, I didn’t want to be bored with my food, I wanted to still be able to eat chocolate and drink beer. At times my ego got in the way and I would want to lift more than was prescribed or overdo something and potentially injure myself!
I’m not saying that you have to have laser focus at all times. It is possible to get into good shape while avoiding boredom with my exercise choices, and still eating chocolate and drinking beer….. But it takes much longer.
It is the same with being an entrepreneur and athlete or even charitable work. If you have a singular goal… Then the fastest, most efficient path is to have as few conditions on it as possible. Each additional consideration adds time and takes energy away from your central purpose.
There is a lot of talk about self-awareness currently, and this is one time where it comes in very handy. For instance, I know that I am capable of working 15 hour days for a long period of time. I also know many people that can’t! I have seen entrepreneurs that have business goals, but ‘Need Weekends, and holidays’. Buying shoes or going on holidays before paying bills, Or that put Instagram likes ahead of sales figures. If your end goal is to make more sales, sometimes you need to spend time on improved business process or spend less on yourself. If your end goal is to help the most number of people possible, sometimes you may need to spend time behind the scenes ensuring the longevity and sustainability of your operations so that you can fulfill your goals for years to come.
If you have goals, remember that every other goal, and every other need adds time and takes energy away from your central purpose. The more focused you are, the more focused your results and faster you will get there.
Remember – The quickest path between two points is a straight line. Personally I know that I don’t need to have holidays, or go out all the time to deal with long days of work. Not before my goals have been reached anyway. In the meantime I will make do with a coffee, or some reading to keep my mind fresh. Find your path with the least amount of distraction, regularly check in with yourself to make sure you are focused, and go out and achieve your full potential.
Josh Reid Jones - Founder of The Just Be Nice Project and Odin Sports