Steve Chandler The fewer goals you set each day, the more you feel pushed around by people and events beyond your control. You suffer from a sense of powerlessness. Rather than creating the reality you want, you are only reacting to the world around you. You can have much more control over the activities of your day than you realize.

By increasing your conscious use of small objectives, you will see the larger objectives coming into reality.

Most people participating in the free enterprise system have become thoroughly convinced of the power of setting large and specific long-range goals for themselves. Career goals, yearly goals and monthly performance goals are always on the mind of a person with ambition.

But often those people overlook altogether the power of small goals-goals set during the day that give energy to the day and a sense of achieving a lot of small "wins" along the way.

In his psychological masterpiece, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi refers to large goals as "outcome" goals and small goals as "process" goals. The beauty of "process" goals is that they are always within your immediate power to achieve. For example, you might set a process goal of making four important telephone calls before lunch. On a sheet of paper you make four boxes, and as you make each call you fill in a box, and when the four are made, you file the paper in your goal folder and go enjoy lunch. Because you've earned it.

You can set process goals, for example, before a conversation with a person. I want to find these three things out, I want to ask these four questions, I want to make these two requests and I want to pay my client one compliment before I leave.

Process goals give you total focus. When you are constantly setting process goals, you are in more control of your day, and you feel a sense of skillful self-motivation.

At the end of the day, or the beginning of the next day, you can check your progress toward your "outcome" goals. You can adjust your process goals to take you closer to the outcomes you want, and always keep the two in harmony.

Let's say it's now the end of a long, hard day. You have a half-hour before you have to go home. If you're not in the habit of setting process goals, you might say, "I guess I ought to do some paper work or make a call or two before I go home." You look at the pile of paper on your desk, or you mindlessly thumb through phone numbers and all of a sudden someone comes by your desk to chat. Because you have nothing specific to do you engage in conversation and, before you know it, the half-hour is gone and you have to go home. Even though you didn't leave anything specific unfinished, you still have that vague feeling of having wasted time.

Now what happens if you use that half-hour to set and achieve a process goal? "Before I go home tonight I'm going to send out two good letters of introduction with all my marketing material included." Now you have a process goal and only a half-hour in which to do it. When the person comes by your desk to chat, you tell him you'll have to talk to him later because you've got some things "that have to get out" by five.

People who get into the swing of setting small goals all day long report a much higher level of consciousness and energy. It's as if they are athletes constantly coaching themselves through an ongoing game. They are happier people because their day is being created by the power inside their own minds, and not by the power of the world around them.

"All your suffering," said Deepak Chopra, "is rooted in one superstition—you believe that you live in the world, when in fact the world lives in you."

Category: Work-Life, Balance
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