Like many sites, we put forward a lot of information about how to achieve goals. The methodologies one should follow, the benefits of having S.M.A.R.T. goals, the pitfalls along the way, the need to stay motivated and of course the transformative power achieving goals can have. Interestingly enough, what I fail to see on the world wide web is the concept (as I like to put it) of goal appreciation.
In its simplest form, goal appreciation is basically being able to sit back and appreciate the fruits of one’s labour. In other words, being able to appreciate what it is you have just achieved. Toasting the success, savouring the moment, cherishing that sense of accomplishment in all its glory. Now I’m guessing some of you are already saying “Oh yes I’m familiar with this and it certainly is talked about, so what is the he on about?” Well, it goes a bit deeper. Because in this newly created definition the concept extends to a period well before a goal is actually achieved. It in fact goes way back to the goals very conception. Not only that but it then continues to evolve and grow throughout the entire journey.
Let me explain. Jim Rohn put it best when he said “One of two things leads to success: inspiration or desperation.” The big question for each of us then is what motivates our behaviour in setting a goal for ourselves? Is it the positive side (inspiration) or is it the negative side (desperation). If it is in fact the positive side, then already you have tasted goal appreciation. Have you ever set a goal for yourself and realised at that precise moment that it is absolutely the one thing you simply must do? Do you remember what that feeling entailed? At that very moment a seed was planted and whether it is a one month goal or a ten year goal, that seed will grow. It is that very feeling which you need to cultivate so that it becomes something that will carry you through the journey. This in turn leads to my next point on goal appreciation.
Whether we realise it or not, goal appreciation should play an ongoing role in our efforts because it is two things. Firstly, it is our barometer. Something that reflects the changes in our circumstances or opinion. It is indeed the measurement of commitment toward that outcome. The barometer is in fact constantly informing us of whether we still want to achieve it. It is intuitive and it is inherent. It can’t be escaped. And therein lies the connection. It is the thing which tells us to keep going and by doing so allows us to appreciate what it is we are doing. Is the conscious connection always made? Perhaps not. But we should remind ourselves every time we continue with a goal that by actually choosing to continue we are already appreciative of what this goal is, regardless of whether it has been realised.
But as I mentioned, there are two aspects to goal appreciation along the journey and this next part is perhaps something that can be contemplated and practiced more easily. And if one were to retain anything from this post then this would be the point: The essence of goal appreciation is “being in the moment”. What does this mean? It means doing what you love and loving what you do. It means doing it well or not doing it at all. It means taking that task that may be one of a thousand toward a goal you are achieving and doing it with passion and commitment because anything less will only take away from the final completion of that goal and of course the appreciation that is to follow that event. But there is more (there’s always more). We always think that everything in life is about the destination. I contend that it is in fact the journey that matters. Without the journey, there is no destination and if you haven’t focused yourself on each step along the way, then you haven’t really gained all that you could from the journey.
Whatever your situation, whatever difficulty you face, whatever challenge lies ahead, you must take stock. And taking stock means assessing where you are right now to meet the precise challenge that faces you. But beyond that, to then smile in the face of adversity, knowing that it is your very own character being forged in that trial, knowing that (to use an already saturated saying) what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, will bring you clarity in your time of most motivational need.
Don’t lose the wisdom of the journey. Whatever the goal, your ability to appreciate what it is your are undertaking at any stage in the process will give you strength. Remind yourself of that and appreciate the here and now. One day you will appreciate the outcome, but today is not that day.