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P. 1
Stay Flexible

Stay Flexible

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Published by Naraykln

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Published by: Naraykln on Jun 26, 2009
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10/03/2012

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Stay Flexible 
This is the fifth chapter of nine included in my free, full version program,Goals! An InteractiveGuide. The other chapters will be added in blog entries for future use.Goals! An Interactive GuideChapters:
Chapter One:
 Why Set Goals? 
Chapter Two:
 Decide
 Exactly
What You Want
Chapter Three:
 Create an Unstoppable Drive 
Chapter Four:
 Get Organized 
Chapter Five:
Stay Flexible
Chapter Six:
Overcoming Obstacles
Chapter Seven:
Review Your Progress
Chapter Eight:
Velocity-Based Goal Setting
Chapter Nine:
Operate From the Highest LevelGoal setting is often criticized for being inflexible. Some have even argued that goal settingshouldn’t be used in highly volatile and rapidly changing projects where the need to be flexible iscritical. While any tool can be impaired under these situations, goal setting is still an invaluabletool to ensuring results. Because rapidly changing areas are less stable, goal-setting can also be apowerful tool to cut away the irrelevant and to stay on task. Flexibility can be maintained in agoal-setting environment, and even improved, provided the right steps are taken.Flexibility with our goals can be greatly enhanced by a number of means without sacrificingfocus. Whether you are running a project with rapidly changing circumstances or are simplystarting a goal on a subject that you don’t have a lot of experience with, flexibility is critical. Byusing these methods we can easily maneuver in the rapid changes, while allowing our goals tokeep us on task.
Focus on Critical Goals
 A big hindrance to flexibility is in the problem of simply setting the wrong goals. By settinggoals for things that are not critical to your desired result, you needlessly limit your options. Forexample, if your goal was to lose a certain amount of weight, you might set a goal to go bikingfor an hour every day. But this goal can be limiting if you discover that going to an aerobics classwould be better. Now you are biking every day when you would rather go to the class becauseyour goal cut off that option.
 
Identify what goals are critical to the outcome you desire. These goals will be your final goals. If your goal is to earn $1000 per week from your consulting business, then your income goal is afinal goal. If you decide that the best way to do this would be to add two new clients, this goalwould be a planning goal. Planning goals are a means to an end. If you later decide that byimproving your value and increasing your commission from the clients you already have wouldbe more profitable, scrap the planning goal. Planning goals only represent what you feel is thebest path for you to take at this time. Eliminate them if you feel there is reasonable evidence thatanother path would be superior.Being able to decide whether you should stick with your current path or go down another one is adifficult choice. There is no hard or fast rule that you can use to decide where to travel when youmeet such a junction. In many cases staying with your goal can keep you from chasing fantasieswith no real substance. In other cases choosing a new path can greatly reduce the effort requiredto get to your goal.In cases where it is difficult to decide what route to go, you must use what Steven Covey calls,“Integrity in the moment of choice.” By utilizing both your intuitive and rational reasoningcapabilities you need to trust your judgement and go with the route that seems best. You mightnot have enough information to fully ascertain which decision will be the most effective. Beingable to form a decision on partial information can be difficult, but it is a necessary skill to build.
Don’t Become Attached to the Path
 Almost as dangerous as the person who wildly jumps from one aim to another without seeinganything through is the person who stubbornly refuses to take a path that differs from their presetguide. Becoming attached to the path we are currently can be a side effect of goal setting. Sinceyou have already set out how we are going to achieve what we desire, opportunities and changescould be viewed as threats. It is also easy to feel that because you had created a strongcommitment to a goal, you must keep the goal even if the information it was set upon haschanged. Goals are tools, not rules. If achieving a goal won’t serve you anymore, dump it.There is only one thing you need to commit to, and that is the result you desire. Everythingbetween that point and where you stand today should be left flexible wherever possible. To getattached to the path you have previously defined ignores the changing reality of life.The goals I set to produce the project you see today when through massive changes as I receivednew information. The only goal I committed to was on when I had decided to get it finished andreleased. Everything between changed so rapidly that I would rarely get to the end of one goalbefore having to switch directions and set a few more. Commitment to the final goal gave me theboundaries to ensure a final result. Flexibility with the goal in between gave me the range to dothe most effective job possible within those boundaries.
Planning is an Active Process
 Planning isn’t over when you write your first copy and start acting on your goal. Planning isn’tfinished until you’ve produced the result. If you lack experience in an area, chances are your
 
plans will need to change rapidly to adapt to the changes in circumstance. If your tendency is towrite an initial plan, store it in a binder somewhere and then follow the plan to the letter, it isgoing to take you a long time to learn from your mistakes and fumbles.Planning needs to be something you do and redo constantly. Some goals will be relatively stableand unaffected by change where others will require constant planning. A goal to lose a certainamount of weight or to stick with a diet usually only requires minor adjustments as newinformation comes in slowly. Creating a product such as this was a perfect example of a situationwhere plans would change rapidly as new information was made available.Whenever you get new information that effects your goal, take out your plan and review it. Isyour plan still valid? Is there elements that might need adjustment? How might this newinformation create obstacles or opportunities for reaching your final goal? Don’t let your plan sitand collect dust. Update it and review it constantly.Your plan should always tell you what action needs to be taken right now. If the action listed byyour plan does not represent what is the best route, then you need to rework your plan. Creating aplan and then ignoring it and following your intuition is a waste of time. By constantly updatingand reviewing your plan you can ensure it is usable even in the face of rapid change. Forcomplex goals like starting a business, developing a project or running an organization, plansfrequently need updating to reflect the changes in situation. Often simply not having enoughexperience can mean constantly adjusting your plan as you are learning.
Take a Breather
 Throwing your life into imbalance may allow you to achieve a goal more easily at first, but it ishighly unstable. Sacrificing your relationships, health or enjoyment of life to pursue your careerwill ultimately create so much negative stress that you will burn out. By taking brief rest periodsalong the pursuit of a major goal you can help maintain this balance. Taking rest periods alsoallows you a period of calmness where you have the time to think deeply about your goals andyour progress. I have found that these rest periods often give me creative insights thatdramatically increase my progress that I simply couldn’t see while I was working non-stop onmy goal.My suggestion is to take a day off per week. This can work very effectively for whatever highlyinvolved achievement goals you have. Obviously, taking a week off from your diet is going tomake a habit change more difficult, but this can work well with goals that consume much of yourtime, such as career related goals. For ambitious people, taking this day off could seem like ahuge threat to their productivity. I noticed, however, that this one day tends to be my mostprofitable day of all in terms of the value it gives back.When you are working on a goal, it is easy to develop tunnel vision. This happens when you getso caught up in the minutia of pursuing our goals that you forget the reasons and motivations forwhy you set them in the first place. Taking a day off each week allows you to broaden yourfocus, re-examine your plan and recharge your reserves of motivation, enthusiasm and mentalenergy.

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