One big challenge of life is figuring out what targets to aim at. We live in a time and world with nearly unlimited choices as it relates to careers, location, income goals, industry, and beyond.
So how do you navigate this – to ultimately discover the “right” target to take aim at?
Here’s one suggestion to get started: Find one goal you could aim everything you’ve got at.
By picking a goal that requires you to aim above the horizon, you force yourself to imagine who you must become in order to achieve that goal.
This is a useful strategy for several reasons.
1. It allows you to orient yourself. Where (and who) are you today, versus where you’d like to be as a result of achieving your goal (and rather, who you’d like to be).
2. It reveals disparity. Moving toward your goals necessitates progress and change. You cannot become who you must be by accepting your current circumstances. Goal-setting contrasts the future you desire against the reality of your present, which enhances your own self-awareness.
3. It gives you a roadmap for how to behave. When you set a goal, you choose a target to take aim at. Which gives you a focal point into the future that you can work backwards from. Some choices will help you make progress toward that focal point, while others will lead you astray.
Negotiating With Your Future
Setting goals forces us to detach ourselves from our past and present circumstances. Even without taking action on them, it offers an exercise in future-orientation.
If you really want to make headway toward your goals, then you’ve got to take inventory of your life –from the choices you make to the activities you spend your time on to your current available resources.
Taking inventory reveals positive and negative stock.
If you discover things that are holding you back, then if you really want to achieve your goals, you’ll be forced to address the baggage in your life.
Sometimes, you’ve got to sacrifice those demons at the altar of your future in order to stand a shot at advancing ahead.
As you go throughout life’s adventure, you’ll likely discover other targets worth aiming at – goals that you’d rather pursue. And you’ll almost always have different interests pulling you in different directions.
If you can go all-in on at least one thing – even if only for a short period in your life – you’ll build discipline, you’ll gain credibility, and maybe most importantly, you’ll build momentum.
You won’t always achieve the goals you set out to. Often, your pursuit of one goal will reveal an entirely different, more exciting path – when that happens, change course.
This variety of life, though, should not be a cause for anxiety. Instead, it’s a good cause for excitement and enthusiasm about the endless possibilities that are waiting for you.
But you’ve got to start first.
There are opportunities out there that you don’t know about yet. And you likely won’t discover them until you take aim at something and start moving toward it.
That’s the great adventure of life. It’s an ongoing discovery process, and you can always change course as new opportunities reveal themselves.