Have you ever been asked what your life plans are? It is somewhat of a daunting question. You may find yourself stumped. You might begin ok but after a while you may lose momentum and trail off. If this sounds familiar you are not alone.
25 seconds is the limit when talking about life plans
A recent study conducted by Theresa Colmaryk, published in the American Journal of Psychology, found that when asked about their plans for life the average person was only able to sustain their line of thought for 25 seconds.
Colmaryk noted, “While most individuals’ plans for the future hold together for the first few moments of explanation, we found that by the 20- or 30-second mark, people typically begin trailing off into ambiguity, equivocation, or flat-out silence”.
The majority of people did not seem to have thought extensively about their plans and as a result they were not able to explain their ideas.
“In about 38 percent of cases, it appeared participants’ aspirations had been subject to so little critical inquiry that the simple exercise of explaining the first step of their plan aloud—be it to purchase a home, to travel extensively, or simply to learn a new skill, like cooking—caused the entire thing to unravel right before their eyes in a period of no more than six or eight seconds.” Said Colmaryk.
What is surprising, however, is that although they could not explain their plans everyone remained confident that they would achieve their goals.
Confusing goals with strategies
Many of us have a tendency to confuse goals with strategies. Once we have set goals we often believe we can achieve them without thinking about a strategy. It is important to know the difference between a goal and a strategy when thinking about one’s life plans.
Freek Vermeulen writes in his article What Strategy Is Not:
“…there is nothing wrong with having an aspiring goal, but strategy is how you endeavour to accomplish it. Strategy involves making choices; genuine choices.”
Often we shy away from thinking about stagey as making decisions and choices can often be difficult. Sometimes we need to make tough decisions like ending a relationship or looking for a new career path; and this can be demanding.
Vermeulen explains strategy as “Your route towards the goal”. In this way the goal can be seen as the destination and the strategy is the path you need to travel to get there. It is essential that we consider the route if we wish to achieve our goals.
Vermeulen gives the example of a goal as follows. He says that a goal may be striving to win the 400 meter Olympic race by aiming to run fast. He notes that this is a valid goal but it does not reveal anything about how one intends to achieve this goal.
Strategy is not the same as goal setting
In the article titled Strategy Is Not the Same as Goal Setting Peter Winick defines strategy as follows:
“Strategy is an exercise in problem solving. While the problem may be as varied as the development of your platform, the launching of your book, the way you will gain market share or the way you will differentiate yourself and your content in the market place, these are all problems that a well thought out strategy is focused on solving.”
So according to Winick we can view a strategy as something that leads to the solving of a problem. We are faced with many problems in life and it makes sense that we need strategies when addressing these problems. Strategies can be tuned when they are not effective. It is important to set a strategy and really focus on it so that even if you are far away from your goal you can reflect on your strategy and change it as needed.
“Goals that support the strategy are critical, but goals do not solve problems. Goals are a measure of progress. Goals support the strategy.”
It is thus important to have a goal and a supporting strategy; but not to get the two confused.
When considering your life plans give a thought to both your goals and your strategies. Know the difference and consider both as equally important. If you give serious thought to what you plan to do in life, chances are you will be able to answer questions about your plans for more than 25 seconds.
It’s often uneasy to start. An organized program or guide would help a lot. Lifehack Goal Setting System is here for you!
What is that?
A hearty system that makes every small progress counts.
How would it help?
For every goal you add, you will receive practical and useful articles that guide you through the process and achieve remarkable outcomes.
Without health, it’s really hard for us to achieve anything, so why not start from some tiny healthy habits?
Check the below six common goals and click into it to add to your goal.
- I will get better sleep by following these daily tips.
- I will end impulse eating by following these daily tips.
- Waking up early makes me healthier, so I will wake up earlier every day by following these daily tips.
- I will know why I get bad breath and get rid of it.
- I always stare at a screen and that hurts my eyes. I want to keep my eyes naturally healthy!
- I will cut down on caffeine consumption by following these daily tips.