Why Definitions Matter

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When you know what “is”, then you know what “isn’t”.

Goal setting is an action plan, but it is only effective if those goals are well-defined. Every once in a while, we come at a crossroad, where we examine the paths traveled. We ask ourselves, “Where am I going?”

You need to have a “big picture” in mind — a vision of what the end should look like. Even if it is a rough idea, it is a start. A muddied mental projection can easily be restored to clarity.

Focus on an aspect of that “big picture.” It is vital to your planning. Ineffective goal setting stems from creating unattainable goals. It’s not about wanting to grow a third arm, but about being unclear. You must keep refining your goals until you are more precise.

Have you ever played around with a photo editing program? You might have toyed with a feature that controls the sharpness of an image. When intensified, the image becomes distorted — almost to the point of parody. The components that made the image appealing are disrupted beyond allure.

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You will find vague terms are used when an individual is uncertain. This uncertainty comes from insecurity about their abilities. It’s about leaving wiggle room for failure.

Keeping a structured list of goals does not mean that you have to be rigid. Failing is not something to be scared of; it is a healthy process. When we do not succeed, it teaches us how to improve, but we must be open to learning a lesson. This is not a way of welcoming inadequacy, instead, it is a way of welcoming the risks it takes to be successful.

Developing an attitude like that takes time and effort; it isn’t easy. This process starts with small steps.

Developing a radical change in one instant can put you into a state of “shell-shock.” You might not feel it immediately, but eventually you will feel the sudden shift. If this change is imparted gradually, you are more likely to see progress.

Thoughts don’t just materialize. That doesn’t mean that your dreams won’t come through, but it does mean you have to work for it. Reinforcement matters here. Writing down your plans gives you some amount of finality, even if the words aren’t set in stone.

Plans and goals are meant to change as we grow, but we must first have a structure to bend and abandon when necessary.