How to Achieve Goals
Find how to set and achieve your goals.
Have you tried to open a coconut with your bare hands? When I was ten years old this is exactly what I wanted to do. It was humid and it was hot at the beach, so I started early. I went searching for a coconut that looked like it had just fallen. I found one, brought it back, and started to work on it! My cousin and I each had one, and we began tearing every little fiber we could get to. After about six hours, I had managed to tear off about half of the coconut’s husk. I was exhausted and my fingertips were numb, but we were determined! We continued the next day. Once we removed most of the husk, we got to the hard shell. And at that point, we realized that opening it with our bare hands was not going to happen.
The question is, why would I want to open a coconut in the first place? In retrospect, I see that I had set a goal: to open a coconut using my own hands. The goal worked, since I engaged to try to open it, applied different strategies, and learned as a result of it. My goal was simple, and action-oriented. As we approach the end of the year (or any other time), it’s natural to wonder what we’d like to accomplish the following year. So let’s explore goal setting and find how to achieve goals. Also, let’s figure out how to feel empowered to go on your own coconut adventure!
Setting goals can be a messy process. Usually, we don’t spend enough time thinking about how to achieve goals, and we don’t take them seriously because they often feel either pushy or empty. When you focus on goals that are solely externally driven, there just isn’t any motivation to pursue them. You know—goals that focus just on end results, financial gain, praise, or external validation. Those are consequences, not motives. If my coconut adventure had been externally driven, I would have focused only on drinking the coconut water. I would probably have given up after my fingers went numb and asked my parents if they could buy me one. But what good is that? Opening the coconut was about the experience. It’s amazing that you could eat/drink something straight from nature, in a world of packaged goods.
But goals can also be too ambitious or too loose. For instance, how many times do we hear that you must start by setting really small goals like one push-up? Or that you must set an ambitious goal? I’ve read that if you do one thing you end up doing more of it. However it has not worked for me. I prefer to find the least common denominator. This is my suggestion: for non-creative very clear goals, find what is the least amount you are willing to do that it’s not hard at all to do everyday, but that it’s significant enough.
For example, I found that when I wanted to do 50 or 100 push-ups every day, I would quit. Even though I can do them. After years, I realized that 10 push-ups was the perfect amount I could commit to every-single-day. It’s been the longest, ongoing, effective, consistent goal I’ve ever set exercise wise. If your sticking to it, then you will achieve them.
Finally, why are goals important? Because they compel you to move! Great goal setting helps provide clarity and inspiration. A goal is worth pursuing when it feels like an adventure. Goals are about experiencing more internally, and proving less externally. However, goal setting takes some goal cleaning: they can’t be vague. You can’t say “I’ll do as many push-ups as I can everyday.” That won’t work. A lack of movement (progress) toward your goals is often a lack of clarity. Instead, come up with goals that express what you desire and that take you closer to where you want to go.
- Find goals with the least common denominator (to commit to).
- Make sure the goals are crystal clear: what do I need to do? What do I want to achieve?
- If possible, write them down or put them up on a board or something.
It’s important to understand that pursuing your goals should feel like an adventure. You can make them small or big as long as they are attainable. More so, your goals need to be actionable every single day! Decide which is your most desirable goal, then give it your full energy one at a time. This will clarify your priorities and give you focus. How to achieve goals is easy, when you have clarity, they’re internally driven, and vitally, they can be tackled everyday.
Back in that summer, I wanted to open the coconut to experience the abundance of nature. I realized that instead of paying for one, I could go find one. It provoked in me such a natural desire to go looking for a coconut to open, that I hardly thought of it as work. I learned that even abundance requires more effort to get past that hard shell, but it’s so worthwhile when you actually put the energy to pursue the goals that matter to you. What would you love to set out to do this following year? What will be your next coconut adventure?
Juan F. Diaz
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