Get What You Want Out Of Life: Set Exciting Goals


There is a lot of information out there about how to set good goals. And for unknown reasons a lot of that information sets my teeth completely on edge. Yes, I know they should be 'Specific - Measurable - Attainable - Realistic - Timely' (aka SMART), but who wants to be smart when setting goals? Where is the fun in that?

Instead, imagine if the process of setting and achieving goals was an exciting adventure in itself? What if they were an Indiana Jones movie, instead of a workplace professional development video?

Not sure how this would work? Read on!

(It helps a lot if you have seen Raiders of the Lost Ark. If you haven't, just search on YouTube 'Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark Famous Scene'.)

Your goal is like the golden idol in the cave. The scene starts with you first beholding the idol on its pedestal and trying to work out how to bring it back home. Can you see it? Gleaming on its little pedestal asking to be reached? Awesome.

Next, Indie pulls out the bag of sand that he has been carrying, because you can't just walk off with the idol, you always have to trade it for something. In goal setting, the bag of sand is the everyday resources you will have to give up for your goal, such as time or money. Do you have enough sand to trade for your goal?

You tense as you slowly place the sand for the goal and rejoice when you pull it free - you have just agreed to a goal you think you can achieve.

But wait! That's not the end. You still need to escape from the cave together with your goal to achieve it. You're not safe and sound until you get it back home. And once you have decided on a goal, that's when life makes it hard to achieve it.

So, you start well but you soon run into trouble. For Indiana it was a pit full of stakes that he needed to swing across. For you, it could be a gap in your finances that you need some help getting through to the next month, or a sudden time suck that leaves you with not enough hours in the day.

Someone will suggest throwing them the idol and they will give you the help you need to cross the pit. Maybe it is in exchange for a sensible job, just for a little bit so you can pay the bills.

You can throw them the idol, and struggle to the end of the cave, but then you have gone through almost as much effort, and have nothing to show for it at the end. Trying to win back the idol afterwards is a whole lot harder.

If you are brave, you manage to get over the obstacle while still keeping your goal. However, next comes the giant rolling boulder. While things might push you to go faster than you feel comfortable doing, and you always seem to be one step ahead of disaster - as long as you are running towards the entrance, you're making it!

Of course, when you break out with your goal, there will be a thousand people pointing arrows and spears of criticism that want to cut you down to size, so it is always best to have an escape plan such as your own plane that you can fly off and enjoy your achievement.

That's the way I think goals must be handled. A lot more exciting and adventurous than being SMART about goal setting.

The final thing this model teaches us is that if your goal is not worth the sand you are trading it for, or you are not prepared to jump across pits of stakes for it, then it's not a very good goal. Stick with your sand and your day job.

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