B, A, bridge

Goal setting, like any form of planning, is useful because of the process, not the outcome. Yes, sometimes, it helps to have a goal. But it’s even more helpful to think about what you want, why you want it and how you’re going to get it.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been seeing some variant of this passage from Alice in Wonderland:

““Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.””

Alice, like many of us, wants to move forward, but doesn’t know where to aim for.

In his books, particularly Intervention, Dan John talks about always having a destination in mind. He breaks goal setting down into it’s most simple form. It’s going from point A to point B. As simple as that. 

In a fitness context, the process is simple. Figure out where you want to go (point B), assess where you are now (point A) and create a program to bridge the gap. It’s the same when applied to lifestyle design. Figure out how you want to spend your days. Determine how you spend your days right now. Then devise a strategy to make the ambition a reality.

But in all cases, whether it be fitness, lifestyle design, business renovation or anything else, you need to approach goal setting in the right order, which is as follows:

  1. Decide upon your point B. Where do you want to end up and why?
  2. Assess point A. Where are you right now in relation to your goal?
  3. Create a bridge from A to B. Determine the necessary steps you’ll have to take and the milestones you’ll have to pass through.

Any other order doesn’t work.

Think about engineers building a bridge over a river. They don’t start building on one bank and then figure out where they want to touch down as they go. No. They know where the bridge should finish. They then find a good place to begin it. And because they know these two things, they are able to create a structure which gets them between those two points.

That’s the process. Decide where you want to go. Figure out where you are. Then try to connect the two.