This is the beginning of a 5 part series on how to reach your goals. This week, we will talk about your values and why they matter, how to translate values into goals, and then we will discuss practical application to making sure you stay focused on your goals.
At the end of 2015, I looked back to the beginning of the year and saw the goals I had set for myself. I had no dropped the 40 pounds I set out to lose. Actually, I did and then I gained it all back. I had said I wanted to read through the entire Bible, but I only read half of it. I didn’t write the book I wanted to write. I hadn’t even gotten out of the first two chapters. I had wanted 25 speaking engagements, but I only had 10. What was going on? “Maybe I just don’t have the magic that all these other people have,” I thought to myself.
Have you ever been there? It is that moment when you see other people get the results you want, and you find yourself falling short of what you want. Simply put, you don’t achieve what you set out to do. You drift from what you want. Maybe you have the goal of dropping 15 pounds, learning a new instrument, writing a blog, or getting the GPA you desire. We usually don’t set out to kill our progress. We just drift off course, as the waves of desire pull us away from what we set out to accomplish.
A while back, I was having a coffee with my friend, Phil. He told me about a book with a fascinating name, “Why Choose This Book?” The main message of the book is that we as human beings are value machines or in other words, we as human beings only do what we value.
“We only do what we value.”
So, if you see a new sweater at the GAP this weekend that you literally must have even though your budget says do not spend you may still buy that sweater because something inside says you need it right now. In reality, you value the sweater, its texture, color, and the way you’re going to look amazing in the sweater more than you value your budget being met.
That’s when it made sense to me. I needed to identify what I really valued. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to keep the 40 pounds off, read through the Bible, write the book, or schedule 25 speaking engagements. At the end of the day, I valued cheeseburgers and fries more than keeping the 40 pounds off, and I valued binging on Netflix more than I valued the Bible. I valued talking about ideas of a book more than actually writing the book. I valued watching Ted Talks more than I valued setting up speaking engagements. The common theme in all of these things that hijacked my goals was that they had minimal resistance, and the temporary happiness that comes with them. It was easy and fun.
“To get what you want, first identify what you value.”
What about you? What has gotten in the way of what you really value? It is paramount to center your life around your chosen values, or you will go back to the path of least resistance and momentary enjoyment. Drifting leads you to short term payoffs that don’t give you what you really want in life. If you don’t identify what you want and design your life around what is important to you, then you will drift. If you do what you’ve always done, then you’ll get what you’ve always got. If you want something different, do something different.
Here are a few questions to consider that can help identify what you want, and create the change you desire.
What do you value most in life? Why are these values important to you? What is getting in the way of your values?