Sometimes The Simplest Goals Can Demand The Most Commitment

21 October 2011, by A. Cedilla

Let’s start with something simple: There is something you want. You really really really want this something. This something may be an object, an event or a condition. For example: it may be a better job, a promotion, or better health.

Now: what are you doing to get it, or make it happen?

The gap between “wanting” and “having” is filled with taking action. You know about pipe dreams and castles in the air, but if you don’t act, you resign yourself to wanting from afar. If pining away is your thing, no one’s stopping you. But if pining is not your thing, then you’re the biggest factor in the way of getting what you want.

You want this, what do you do get it? A lot of that. The trick — which isn’t a short-cut or a trick at all — is to break down the lot of THAT into smaller to-do’s, then little just-did’s. That’s how success sneaks in — it disguises itself as hard work.

Another component to success is clarity: you have to be clear about what you really want, because if you’re vague about your desires, 1) how will you know if you’ve already got what you want? and 2) how sure are you that it’s what you really want? (Maybe it’s a substitute for something else?)

I want to get healthy. I want to make more money. I want a better life for my family and for myself, and I want to have more time to spend with them. I want I want I want want want.


You want. So? Wanting is not enough. I’m sure you’ve heard people around you going on and on about their dream job, their fantasy vacation, their Holy Grail of cars, their ideal body, and yet you don’t see them doing anything concrete to pursue their desires. What are you doing to get healthy, say — or healthier, anyway?

Doing, not going-to-do. I have to get that in. You have a dream something, buy into it yourself, don’t just talk about it. Back up your desire with action. if you let go without getting it, it’s likely that your desire isn’t as strong as the obstacles to achieving it.

It’s quite easy to say you want something. Say you want to work to earn enough to support yourself and let you lead the kind of life that makes you happy and content — and leave enough time to live the life you earned. A simple goal, true, but as with many deceptively simple goals, demanding in its execution.

Work tends to send out tiny tendrils into our lives that in time grow into strong roots – what you do repeatedly and over time leaves its marks on you as well. If you’re stressed at home, you can hide in work, and if you’re stressed at work you can relax at home.

If you work at home you can be doubly screwed. If you feel under fire and under stress everywhere –what do you do? How do you back up your desire to live the life you earned when hard times influence you to think that this bleak forecast is forever, and you lose hope?

Step back from the situation and shift to a different perspective. You are not powerless, and you do have choices. You need to recognize that they exist, they are present and that it’s your response-ability to decide whether to keep going in the same way, or change your circumstances, bit by bit.


You do things to change the situation to one that better suits your needs and goals. If you can’t affect what’s going on outside you, you can still control your mindset and perspective, even change them if you want to. You don’t need to obsess about what may or may not happen, but you can control what you do.

If you hunker down and keep your nose to the grindstone, your shoulder to the wheel — where is your joy in being here, on this planet, in this world, at this time? How do you live the life you have now?

You open up and try very hard to recognize other choices. You can still change things. You have the right, the power and the ability to change your mind, your life, and your direction. You don’t have to stay one thing. You can re-frame the way you see “work”, “jobs”, and “labor”.

  • There are things you choose to do to keep a roof over your head, food on the table and keep the bills covered.
  • There are things you do to keep involved with life, re-affirm your connections to friends and family, to the past and to the future.
  • There are also things you choose to do to count yourself — and be counted as– a success.
  • Finally, there are things you do because you want to matter, and want your life to mean something while you’re here.


Sometimes the barrier to success comes form the nature of the processes you use yourself. Let’s say you have a good, orderly support system set up, one that functions smoothly and with a neat progression.

If you suddenly get a chance to see things from a different perspective, you may realize that your set-up can also lock you into a rigid pattern that leaves little room for growth or innovation, or even joy.

  • You get fixated: you just have to, have to, have to get this one thing done, even if other things as equally vital start piling up and causing a log-jam in the work-flow.
  • You feel you need to knock an item off a list in order to feel good about yourself. And no matter how many finished tasks you check off, there are always more open items waiting, so you never feel good enough.

Using a system like this ties you into the productivity illusion, where you’re busy, but not actually productive. Being busy doesn’t mean you’re a producer or a creator. Being busy can mean you’re efficient, even effective, which in and of themselves aren’t bad, but only of themselves, can be restricting.


When you get locked in, many times you forget to see that life is going on while to-do lists have come to lie like wallpaper over the windows to your life. Things are happening all around you. Other people are making things happen and enjoying the results while you…are checking off lists.

If you only look at the end goal, you miss a lot of good stuff that happens along the way.

Learn to step back every once in a while and look at what’s going on.

“Is this what I wanted? Am I satisfied with the way things are going, and where they’re headed?” They’re short, simple questions, but answering them honestly can make a big difference in how your life turns out.

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