Don’t believe me? Then try this exercise:
Who is your best friend and how did you meet. Wherever it was, what made you go there? What other choices did you have at the time? If you had made another choice, would you have met your friend?
I was born in England but washed up on the shores of Australia – that was by choice. I spent a long time in a military career by choice; and during that time I was given a number of options which defined exactly what I did and where I did it – I made my choices and that then opened up a number of differing opportunities. If I had made different choices who knows where I would be and what I would be doing!
If I hadn’t decided to take a bus ride into town on a wet and windy English Winter’s day I may never have joined the RAF – and the rest of my life would have been vastly different. If you stop and think about your life you will probably identify a number of life changing choices that you made.
So if we have made such life changing choices we must have given it a great deal of thought and careful consideration – right? Probably not!
So often we carelessly make choices which change our life, without any thought or even reason. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Sometimes it works out well, and at other times … well best pass over them!
We make choices every single day without bothering to stop to think – Cereal or eggs for breakfast? Simple, I am in a hurry so let’s have cereal – that’s our choice. Shall we go to the city today? I don’t feel like it, let’s stay home. Another choice. Neither of these seem particularly life changing, but today on the motorway there was a three car accident, and if I had chosen to go to the city, who knows.
So most of our lives are created by choices that we make without any thought for the outcome. But there are other types of choices we can make, which are done with deliberation and careful consideration.
Setting a goal for ourselves is a deliberate choice of direction for our lives. When we make that kind of decision we have made a specific choice of how we want our lives to be in the future. And when we set a goal we intend a certain outcome.
But while our daily choices may have unexpected outcomes they are rarely planned – goal setting however is different. It needs careful planning, it needs deliberation and an understanding of what is required to achieve that goal and create a successful life choice.
Without creating that plan we are unlikely to succeed, because achieving goals often requires us to make uncomfortable choices, and we don’t like being uncomfortable. We delude ourselves that it is too difficult, too hard – but we choose not to continue and that changes the outcome. We can fool ourselves a little by claiming that we have no time , we are too busy but we choose to forget that we spent three hours on facebook, or strolling around the shops – so we deliberately choose to fail, because we don’t like being uncomfortable.
Reaching out for goals is making a deliberate choice to be uncomfortable for a greater aim. To achieve the successful outcome that I dream about I need to fight hard now – and sometimes it feels just too difficult, too uncomfortable, and so I choose to fail.
And that I think is at the base of all our instinctive choices – what will make me feel comfortable at this time? whatever it is will be our choice.
If we understand this, when we next set ourselves goals we can expect it to be hard, to be difficult to struggle through, and our success will be driven by the choice of how uncomfortable we are prepared to be. And that itself is driven by how desperately we want this to succeed.
Life is all about choices. Often we drift into and out of situations without realising how we got there. The choices we made that brought us here were made without thinking and without any care for the future. But if we want some control over our life’s choices then we need to be serious about goal setting; and we need to realise that changing can be uncomfortable. If we choose to accept that then we can make real life changing choices that can shape our lives the way we want, rather than be washed ashore somewhere else … like Australia for instance.
Michele @ Trischel