Breaking It Down To What You Can Control
Everyone has heard that in order to accomplish anything we must have goals. Goals can be modest (I want to make more money) and they can be lofty (I want to become President). Goals can be vague (I want to be healthier) and they can be specific (I want straight A’s).
One thing the above goals all have in common is that achieving each one depend on something that is out of one’s control.
Making more money may require someone else wanting to buy what you’re selling or a boss being able to pay more. Becoming President requires at the very least getting someone you don’t know to vote for you. Wanting to be healthier is just plain vague and getting straight A’s requires a teacher agreeing with your answers on tests or homework.
John Williams, the creator of Academic Life Coaching (ALC) proclaims, “Goals are over-rated!” Williams continues from the ALC student workbook, “On one hand, having goals are great. But unfortunately, the word goal is overused. The concept of having ‘SMART’ goals gets closer to being useful, but the whole process of setting goals and then trying really hard to get them (often doing the same actions, just harder) usually leads to frustration.”
At Academic Life Coaching we like to work with the concept of a well-formed outcome. We help the student create a system that leads to an outcome. I suggest that by living in the moment helps us build the blocks toward reaching whatever it is you are looking for.
A well-formed out come has four tenets:
• It is stated in the positive
• Getting started and the success (or failure) of the outcome depends entirely on you
• It has a good size to time ratio that moves you into action and keeps you moving at a comfortable pace. In other words it is happening now!
• It is specific and measurable
Notice that the four things stated gives you full control over what happens. Having control over something relieves a ton of stress whether it’s in your job or schoolwork.
In addition to my work as an Academic Life Coach I also coach high school baseball. I often hear my players say, “I have a goal of hitting .375.” I tell them that they don’t have control over that. The opposing pitcher we see may be really good or the fielders make an incredible play or every ball you hit one day goes right to a fielder no matter how hard you hit it.
I will suggest they come up with a well-formed outcome.
In addition to our team practice…
• I will hit on a tee every day for 100 swings.
• I will meet with a teammate each day for extra batting practice in the cage.
• I will visualize myself being successful for five minutes prior to every game.
• I will work with my coach individually each week on both my strength and weaknesses. Even if it just talking.
Once again, notice that the above; are all stated positively, it depends entirely on the individual, it happens at a minimum every week and it is measurable. You either did it or you didn’t.
Now it’s your turn. Again from the ALC student workbook –
Pick an area of your life that you want to improve.
What structure or system do you need to make this outcome easy to accomplish?
What will let you know that you’ve accomplished this outcome?
Many people that use this plan will find that they start to use it in other areas of their life. The process becomes a habit. Little things do make a huge difference over time.
Pick the things you can control and lose the worry over the big picture. Take control of your own life and enjoy.