I have been meaning to post on this topic for a while now. Every so often someone writes me something along the lines of this:
“I worked really hard to set my magical goal. I am going to hang this goal up in my temple (or place it in an expensive blank book, or use it as a daily mantra). I feel like I have really accomplished something here”
“Thank you for writing that. I feel like just reading it I have accomplished a lot!”
or my personal favorite:
“Now that I have taken stock of my life and set some realistic goals for my success, I actually already feel successful. This is what I have been looking for! Thank you.”
These quotes are presented with permission from the people that wrote them. They all have one thing in common. After I checked back with them several months later, they all did exactly NOTHING to get closer to accomplishing their goals.
The problem is that Goal setting feels good and can feel like an accomplishment in and of itself. This is understandable: if you really take the time to examine your life, discover a lot of the self-sabotaging and negative inner scripts that you have been running, and take the time to figure out where you really want to be spiritually, materially, romantically, or socially, it can be a hugely satisfying and uplifting experience. It provides direction where formerly there was none. It feels good. It feels really good. It feels as good as the day you first signed up for the gym membership and promised yourself that you would go three times a week. It feels good like the day you opened up your Roth Ira. It feels good like the time you signed up for the seduction seminar. The day you signed up for weight watchers.
The problem is that you felt so good about just signing on to the idea, that you decided to treat yourself to a little break. You did not end up going to the gym regularly. You did not end up contributing to the Roth Ira every year. You did not follow up the seduction seminar by actually talking to any girls. You did not track your weight watchers points for more than a couple days.
A while back I posted a video on crap goals, and the traps to avoid. Someone wrote in that they would like a follow up on the positive end of that, not just the things to avoid, but the things to do. Fair enough. I will get that video up eventually, but here are a few rules:
1. Take action immediately after setting your goal. What is the first step? If you cannot take it immediately, than take it within 24 hours. It must not be pushed off any further than that. Want to get out of debt? First step is to figure out exactly how much comes in and how much comes out. In great laser focused detail. Everything. If you do not do it when you develop the goal itself, than when are you going to get it done?
2. Plan out the next several steps that you need to take after that first one and assign them dates and times. If it doesnt have a date and time it is not a real step. Its great that you were able to calculate your income and expenses when you set your goal, but that was the easy part. What day and time are you going to contact your credit cards and ask for lower rates? What day and time are you going to cancel your gym membership and buy a coffee maker? What day and time are you going to meet with the bank to re-finance the house?
3. Do not fetishize your goal. Your goal does not need to be sigilized. Your goal does not need to be written in a Moleskine bought specially for that purpose. Your goal does not need to be hung in your temple space on a plaque. At least from the Strategic Sorcery long term perspective whatever the magical benefit may be of these things seems to be overridden by the effect of fetishizing the goal over the actions following the goal. Sigilize the goal for a working by all means, but dont obsess over it. Write it in whatever notebook you have on hand and treat it with all the sacredness of your grocery list, cuz you know you actually get that stuff done.
4. A week later look at your steps. If you did not do them when you said you would, you need to examine why and either:
A) Realize that you don’t want this right now as much as you say you do. (A whole post on this coming soon) OR…
B) Figure out some way to keep yourself to it using pleasure/pain principals, cuz willpower alone ain’t cutting the mustard. (A post on this coming your way soon as well)
To sum up: You Goal is your grocery list. By all means take care that what is written on it is possible to accomplish, healthy for your overall well-being, and well thought out, but realize that it is just a list of the things you actually have to DO.
Your goal is not an accomplishment any more than your grocery list is food.