In a team Google Hangout yesterday, one of the co-founders of the company I work for, was asked if he is someone who sets personal goals.
In reply, he mentioned an article he had read recently, which described an interesting approach to goal setting. The example was around exercise. If you set a goal of losing 10 pounds, for example, then what happens when you reach that goal? Do you set a new goal of another 10 pounds? Will it ever be enough? Will the goals continue to motivate you?
Instead, this approach encourages you to think of your goals in terms of setting up systems that enable you to do what you want to do. So if your aim is to lose weight, then rather than putting a figure on it, you should just have a goal of exercising 4 times a week (for example). If you stick to that ‘system’, then you’ll achieve your weight loss goal as a by-product, without being too focused on a specific number of pounds.
The same applies to the running habit I created over the last year. I didn’t start running with a goal of losing weight or running a certain 10k time, or running a marathon (although I wouldn’t mind doing that at some point!) My goal was simply to run every day. No fixed distance or speed, no tracking, just getting out there and doing it. The benefits of increased fitness and speed come naturally as a result of sticking to this system. If my goal had been to run say a half marathon, then I might have stopped running after achieving that goal (which did actually happen when I ran my first half marathon back in 2008).
So my painting goals for 2015 will simply be to paint at least once a week. I’m not aiming to produce X amount of finished paintings, or win any awards or anything like that, I’m just setting up the system, creating the habit, and trusting that the other benefits will come naturally.
What do you think of this goal setting philosophy? Do you have your own painting (or other) goals for 2015? Let me know in the comments.