Welcome to Part 6 of The Key Steps To Crafting a Better You, a guide assimilating both my personal experience and accumulated knowledge on the subject of self improvement. I wrote these such that they build upon each other, thus I recommend you first read:
Part 1 Know Thyself
Part 2 Crafting Proper Goals
Part 3 Maintain a Positive Mindset
Part 4 Document & Review
Part 5 Seeking Support
At this point in the year many folks have jettisoned their goals, if not having completely forgotten them. There could many reasons for this: injuries, hardships, and other unforeseen circumstances and obligations. One of the reasons I insist that goals be flexible when they are crafted is that new obstacles will inevitably arise, yet that need not be a reason to abandon your forward momentum (let alone lose any).
Like a parkour master, you must learn to flow over your obstacles instead of colliding with them.
In the clip above, Bruce Lee is describing how water can be both passive and powerful, and how emulating those qualities is central to his personal philosophy. As legendary as Bruce was as a martial artist, this was actually a lesson taught to him by his own teacher, Yip Man, who himself learned it as part of the Taoist tradition of wu wei.
“Wu wei refers to the cultivation of a state of being in which our actions are quite effortlessly in alignment with the ebb and flow of the elemental cycles of the natural world.”
So how does this apply to your goal? Simply put, rigid goals are more likely to shatter against the obstacles you (as a regular human being) are unlikely to foresee. Having a fluid goal does not mean that you won’t achieve it; instead it means that it will take concentrated effort to prevent the intended result from happening.
Refer back to one of the examples I used back in Crafting Proper Goals:
Crap Goal: I want a smaller number on the scale.
While I pointed out that the number on the scale is not likely the root cause of what you want to change, it is also subject to a myriad of factors you can’t always control: humidity, hormones, time of day, etc. This is a poorly aimed and rigid goal, which is doomed to shatter as time moves onward.
Better Goal: I will get exercise 3 times a week for all of 2015 while trying to improve my overall fitness.
This goal is inherently fluid. It does not state “I will run X amount of miles per week” or even name a particular activity beyond the criteria of exercise. The key goal is also removed from the action (improve my overall fitness), to help remind of the true focus. Ankle injury, time crunch, and boredom will not be an obstacle for this goal to flow past.
Now that you have some execution of your goal under your belt, it’s a great time to reflect on how it could be better. What is making you feel accomplished? What are you enjoying the most? What are you learning? Adjust your goal to maximize those things, evolving it to overcome any setbacks you faced.
In the final post of this series, I’ll assume you have accomplished your goal and encourage you not to rest on your laurels.