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Don’t be afraid to change your goals

Having a goal is a wonderful thing, especially if you are taking the necessary steps to work towards it.  A goal without a plan is simply a fantasy, and that helps no-one.

However, neither does focusing on one particular outcome, without recognizing that your situation may have changed, the world in general is different, or even we ourselves have grown over time.  This, of course, doesn’t mean that we should give up our goals; instead, we need to keep our minds open and adaptable to the possibility of adjusting our direction slightly to achieve something better than we first may have thought of.

In my “other” life, my day job that pays the bills, I work as a computer programmer.  When I first entered the professional workforce, software development projects were all planned up front, taken as a fixed, immutable path that would eventually take you to the project’s conclusion.  The software development paradigm was called a “waterfall” model; each step would trickle down to the next one.

The problem, of course, is that this methodology allows no opportunity to take on changes.  Sometimes the original requirements for the software weren’t fully understood at the beginning, other times the business has changed during the course of the software development cycle, especially on bigger projects.

In software, this was overcome by the introduction of a new, more flexible methodology called “Agile”.  Instead of a huge plan made up front, each week, the team gets together and check that they are still going in the right direction.  Any changes can be made as required incrementally, rather than getting to the end and going, “Oh, that’s not what we wanted!”

I had a really smart manager once who summed this up with, “Let’s not build the perfect solution to the wrong problem.”

We can and should use this “Agile” approach to working towards our own goals.  Of course, in software, it’s not cool to call it “mindfulness”, but that is really what it is.  It’s being aware of what is going on, where you are going, and adapting to changes to make sure that you reach the right end goal.

After all, when we are building our dreams, isn’t it sensible to make sure that, rather than finding yourself where the “you” of a year or so ago wanted to be, not where you want to be now?

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