Setting Goals and Making Choices

Arlene shares a metaphor that will help anyone who wants to set doable goals.

A friend who is a creative writer says she gets distracted by all the projects she would like to do, or feels she should do. Each would be interesting. What goals are right for her and what are not? How to decide? How should she allocate her time?

I know her dilemma for I’ve often tried to fit more than is possible into 24 hours. I haven’t always been successful but, as I will write in the next post, I’ve used a technique to reduce my stress considerably more than I was able to in the past.

In today’s post, I will share a metaphor that came to mind when I was thinking of my friend’s situation. Since I know that some of my readers have the same problem, I hope it will help anyone who wants to set doable goals. It really is possible to choose the goals that are best for you, even if others think you should do something differently.

Since this metaphor is new and I haven’t given it to anyone yet, I would love to know what part of it is helpful and what part is not. If you send an email or make a comment below, that can help me know how to adjust it when I use it in the future.

The metaphor goes something like this:

One day you feel weighed down with too much to do. A dozen things clamor for your attention. They all sound great. You’ve wanted to do them for a long time. In fact, you have more possibilities than you have time to do them.

Unable to decide what to do next, you take a long walk and come upon a street you hadn’t seen before. The sign on the corner says “Possibility Street.”

There is only one building at the end of the block and to get there, you have to pass signs stuck in the ground at every which angle. Each sign is an ad that shows a beautiful woman or handsome man with a bright smile who encourages you to buy this or buy that, to do this or do that; there are other signs that tell you how you are to buy this or buy that, how to do this or do that.

You notice that each of them promises that their product or service will guarantee you a happy and successful life — if you decide now. It almost seems as though they are a reflection on what has been tossing around in your mind recently .

You look  again at the building and wonder whether it has anything to do with the signs. As you get closer, you notice that engraved above the door is the word “Choices.”

Maybe here is where you can discover what you need to do and when. You hope that at least it will give you a clue as to what you should start doing and what you can easily put off until later.

As you enter the building, you are greeted by a wise person with a smile who leads you into a room where there is a chair that looks exactly like your favorite chair at home. Across from there is a chair with the word “Sales Person” carved into the back.

You are told that this is the “Interview Room” and you’re invited to sit down and relax in this chair that seems so familiar.

Then the strangest thing happens. A side door opens and in walks a person whose picture you saw earlier in a sign down the street. As that person sits in the “sales person” chair, the wise person hands you a note with five questions you are to ask him or her:

What do you want me to do and why?

What can you give me that I don’t already have?

What do I have to give up in order to do or buy what you want me to do or buy?

What will happen if I don’t do it now — or never?

After each question take a moment to let the answer sink deep down into your heart, in fact, into every cell of your body. The way you feel when you hear the answers the sales person gives will be a clue as to whether now is the time you should do what this person wants you to do or to buy, whether you can put it off until later, or whether it is really important for you to do at all.

When this person leaves the room, another comes in to sit on the chair and offers you another sales pitch.

Again you repeat the questions and again let your body discover whether the answers indicate you need to accept those ideas or not.

Finally, when all the people have come into the room trying to convince you to do what they think you should do or buy, the wise person tells you that five other people have asked to see you.

Each presents a petition for your time and represents Exercise, Food, Sleep, Relationships and Spirituality.

You ask each of them the following:

Have I given you enough time lately?

What will you give me when I give you what you ask for?

Notice how their answers might help you decide which of the earlier petitions you want to accept at this time.

Before leaving the Choices Building, you thank the wise person and reflect on all the things you have been struggling to balance in your life.

What things most speak to your heart?

As you walk home, you know that when new ideas are presented to you of things that others want you to do or buy, you can ask the four questions again:

What do you want me to do and why?

What can you give me that I don’t already have?

What do I have to give up in order to do or buy what you want me to do or buy?

What will happen if I don’t do it now — or never?

The answers will help you know what you should do now and what you can postpone.

In writing this metaphor I was aware that there is a lot of information to sort through. I don’t expect you to have a clear understanding of what you need to do now and what can wait. But I feel that if you ask the four questions posed by the wise person in this tale, you will be less likely to feel that everything has equal importance in your life.

I also hope you will recognize that exercise, food, sleep, relationships and spirituality need to have a place in your planning, because they can support your goals no matter what you choose to do. On the other hand, if they are pushed to the side, they will eventually sabotage your good intentions for they are the foundation on which all successful goals rest.

To remind yourself of the questions you need to ask whenever someone suggests you choose a goal they want for you, I suggest you bookmark this page. Or, you can copy the questions and keep them where you can use them to choose the goals that are best for you at this time.

2 thoughts on “Setting Goals and Making Choices

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