October 20. “Your aspirations are your possibilities.” (Samuel Johnson)
Many of the quotes this year have talked about setting high-minded, aspirational goals. I have written about my goal orientation, and how I spend time deciding on and setting measurable goals for myself. I have talked about the idea of SMART goals, those that are:
- Time Bound
In the past I have spent a lot of time talking about how they need to be Measurable, Relevant and Time Bound. Today I want to talk about the word Attainable.
When I am setting objectives at work for myself and my team, it is very important to set objectives that can be attained. I don’t want to set my team up for failure by setting the bar too high. And, for most of the objectives that we set that is the right thing to do. We all need to set goals that are in the realm of probability for us to attain, otherwise we open ourselves up to missing the mark and then feeling as though we failed.
I find the same to be true on my journey toward better health. If I set weekly, or even monthly goals that aren’t attainable, then I create an unhealthy situation for myself. I may try to lose weight in an unhealthy way, and at too fast of a rate; or I may commit myself to a workout schedule that isn’t practical and interferes with other priorities in my life.
I spend a lot of time and thought on making sure that my goals are attainable. But, by doing so, I may also be limiting just how high I can go.
In this quote, Samuel Johnson reminds us that our possibilities are limited only by our aspirations. If I aspire to mediocrity in life, then I will attain that level and go no further. But, if I aspire to set the world on fire and be the very best, then my universe of possibilities becomes endless.
For many good reasons, we don’t want to set all of our goals in life to be aspirational. I can’t always nail every project at work, and exceed everyone around me. I won’t always have months where I lose larger amounts of weight, or work out for hours on end. But, if I want to achieve at a high level in life, some of my goals must be aspirational and high set. Otherwise I doom myself to reaching a plateau, and moving no further.
At work we address this by setting at least one goal that is much higher than the rest. This allows us to spend our time working on and measuring success in our everyday jobs, while having one area that stretches us and allows us to grow in new directions.
The end of the year at work is approaching fast, and with it comes measuring our yearly performance. Soon after we will be setting our new, annual objectives for 2015. I will be working with a new team in the new year, and my job will be different as well. As I approach that season of objective setting, I must remember to work in goals which will stretch myself and my team. I need to include aspirational goals that set the bar high. Only then will I really know what we all are capable of.
Today my reflection is on setting goals in life that don’t limit my possibilities.