Happy New Year!
Thank you very much for reading this blog and my books last year. I hope you got something out of them and are ready for 2019.
What are your new year’s resolutions for this year?
Well, for the readers of ZENWSP, it isn’t time to just think of your resolutions, it is time to set concrete goals.
Today, I will share with you how to set your goals for 2019.
Goal setting was repeatedly recommended in many of the books I read. It is a widely recognized strategy to succeed. They all said that by setting a clear goal, it makes you easy to visualize your business outcome. They shared examples of people with written goals having a higher success rate than people without them. It is a common practice in the business world.
However, I know many people who don’t like setting goals or getting involved in planning as the business community normally does. That is more so among people who lead sustainable lifestyles or people who are interested in spirituality. It seems not planning or setting goals has been a new way of doing business among them. Can they succeed with this method?
Have you ever heard about the Findhorn community in Scotland? Let me enlighten you. The Findhorn community is an eco-village managed in a unique way. In the beginning stage, this community didn’t follow the traditional way of planning. Instead, they listened to messages which were channeled by one of its leaders. The whole eco-village had to be spontaneous because all they needed was to go with the flow. After some time in operation, the community became one of the most successful eco-villages of all times.
That means that the ‘go with the flow’ approach can sometimes lead to a successful outcome. By not having fixed plans, you can be more flexible when you face unexpected events, and sometimes these surprising incidents can bring new opportunities.
However, even with that said, I have come across many cases of people who took that approach and resulted in not achieving outcome. These people woke up one day, decided to travel 200 miles to visit a Shinto shrine and the week after that, they traveled to another location where they met somebody who wasn’t related to their project, simply because their gut feeling told them to. They encountered synchronistic events which suggested that they would bring new opportunities to their project but when they actually took action following them, it didn’t take them to the next level. During all that time they spent a few months, and their project didn’t progress at all. Sometimes synchronistic events advance you to the next stage, but not always. You need to be careful with them.
The thing is; when your goals and plans aren’t clear, you often lose track and in the process, end up wasting a lot of time.
However, as I said, some people who use ‘the go with the flow’ approach thrive.
So, what should we do then? Should we set up goals and plans, or should we just go with the flow?
It is really up to you. Both methods have pros and cons. You can apply whichever way you feel more comfortable with.
I personally like to use an approach based on the Yin and Yang concept. The Yin and Yang concept is a Taoist concept which stands for two halves that complete each other. For example, the moon and the sun can be Yin and Yang because together, they make a day. One can’t be complete without the other.
Goal setting is Yang and going with the flow is Yin in this case. They are neither bad nor good but just two different elements that can be one if combined. Another word, I would like to use both of them according to the situations. I will cover how I integrate the two little by little in the next few posts.
First, let us review the Yang side of this; goal setting.
When it comes to planning, you will need to set what conventional wisdom considers a SMART goal. A SMART goal stands for, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. In simple terms, it means the goal you set for your business should be specific, measurable, attainable, and relevant to your ecosystem and values. It also needs to have a set deadline.
So when you make your new year’s resolutions, be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant to your ecosystem and values, and set time. When you want to achieve it.
What does it mean by relevant to your ecosystem and values ? In this context, ecosystem should mean your life as a whole. How it will relate to other areas of your life like your relationship with your friends and family, your health, your spirituality, and so on.
A lot of us set goals without considering this element and end up failing.
When I started English coaching, I remembered a method I was advised to use by a seminar back in the days, which was to set a goal of earning $10,000 a month. The idea of earning $10,000 a month was attractive to me because it would definitely upgrade my financial situation and it would be the proof that I will have transformed my way of thinking and doing. I decided to give a shot. Before I did, I opted to check the goal and see if it was congruent with my ecosystem.
The first thing I did was look at how I could achieve the goal. According to my research, there were only two ways I could use to earn $10,000 per month as an English coach.
- First, I could increase the number of my coaching sessions. Since I intended to charge $50 per session, that meant to achieve the goal, I was supposed to give 200 sessions per month and 50 sessions per week. For this method to work, I needed to find many clients, which required me to do some major advertising and socializing so I could hand out my business cards to various people. It meant I would be working 12 hours a day seven days a week. That meant I wouldn’t get time to spend with my family, friends, and even be in nature.
- The second way was for me to hike up my coaching fee to something such as $500 per session. This was a lot of money, but many coaches charged that kind of money. By charging this much, I wouldn’t need to find a lot of clients, and my sessions would have been fewer. My monthly sessions would be 20, and my weekly sessions would be 5. For me, one session per day and not needing to look for a large number of clients was magical. However, with that said, it was extremely difficult to get clients who were willing to pay such a high fee. It wasn’t congruent with my value either. It could even have damaged my reputation. After looking at the two ways, I concluded that they were both not coinciding with my ecosystem and that changed my goal of earning $10,000 to earning $3,000 a month, which was more relevant to my ecosystem and values. I highly recommend that you concentrate on setting realistic goals. I highly discourage you from setting goals that are too high to achieve. I know those are the kind of goals that business gurus advise us to set. We tend to believe what they are telling us simply because they are successful and they seem to know what they are talking about. However, the truth is there is a very small chance that you shall succeed when you set a high goal. Have you ever asked yourself why only a few people achieve their goals after attending the high goals seminars? It is because the high goals they set are highly unattainable. You also need to understand that there is a trick here. They have to lure you with high goals to be able to charge you high fees to take their seminars.The best thing to do is to start with an attainable goal that you can adjust as you go on. That way, you increase your chances of eventually attaining a high goal than starting by setting a high goal.
2019 is a year of transformation, and people who are in tune with your Ikigai will more likely to prosper.
Tomorrow, I will share with how to plan for 2019.
Click here to get a free newsletter Zen and a Way of sustainable prosperity: Balance, financial success, and sustainability with the secrets of the Japanese Omi-merchants.