Unfinished Projects? Three Easy(ish) Steps to Meeting Your Goals.
For those who are interested in Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicators, it is a curse of the INTP that we have a million unfinished projects on the go. The chances are that unless the stakes are pretty high, or we don’t have a way out the job may not get finished. For example, we may have a project at work or a commitment to people and we’ll do it. Begrudgingly. But it will get done. However, there are other things, more personal goals that we just can’t seem to get done. For example, I’m writing a book that I have been working on for the best part of 15 to 20 years. I have the outline, I know the way the story will go, I am maybe a quarter of the way through it. I just can’t quite seem to get to it enough to make it happen and end it. I can’t be the only one who lives with this constant battle between wanting to achieve things, feeling a need to be creative, and procrastinating all at the same time. Can I?
So what can be done? It seems to me there are two approaches that can be taken. One from conventional wisdom and coaching practices, and the other from neurolinguistic programming (NLP). Ok, let’s talk about that first. NLP is the cheesiest and flakiest kind of psychology you can imagine. It’s not really psychology, although it could be incorporated into positive or even behavioural psychology. That said, this should not be seen as an answer to genuine clinical disorders or mental illness, they require the help of a professional. However, for all the flakiness, it gets results. I first heard about it a few years ago and decided it was garbage and had no place in the world. I maintained this position until I read Mental Mastery by Ken Way, the guy behind Leicester City’s Premier League winning season. Go get the book to learn more, you won’t regret it.
So NLP is one approach, and the other is accountability. The thing I love about NLP (and for all I said about it, I really do love it) is that it encourages you to see your goals happen. One of my favourite “tricks” is to think about where you want to be in the future. Now imagine it and try to experience it. What’s it like? How does the achievement feel? Now map your path backwards from that place to today and examine the path you took to get there. Now walk that path. Seems easy. In essence, it is – you just created the path you have to take, now all you need to do is walk it. This is where the second part comes in. You know when your friends post on Twitter how they ran 4 billion miles before breakfast, or when they update you with “Off to *insert crazy exercise thing here* tonight #feeltheburn” – it’s not so you know about it (well, for some of them it may be), it’s because they feel a level of accountability by making it public. There is a wealth of research to show that people who go to the gym or commit to diets together see increased success levels over those who go it alone.
Here are the three take aways for today:
1 – Think about where it is you want to be. What does it feel like? What are the differences in life between now and then? What sacrifices did you have to make? How long did it take? What steps did you have to take? What were the first few steps you took? Think about all these things in reverse, then walk the path in real life.
2 – Find an accountability partner (or drive your social media friends nuts). Either way, don’t keep it to yourself. Make commitments and don’t be afraid of them. Let people know how you are doing, and inspire others. I have a couple of friends on Facebook who have changed their lives in amazing ways, inspiring others, and truly walking a whole different path to the one they were on. You can do this too – find your path and walk it.
3 – Set 15 minutes of your day aside to work on your goal. If you only spend 15 minutes of your day today working on your goal, you’ll be 15 minutes closer to achieving it than you were this morning.
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