“The Conversation That Changed My Life” (Goal Setting Mini Rant)

g_ririan-300x200It was a cloudy day. I could almost feel the melancholy as if the evil bunny from Donnie Darko was standing awkwardly by my side. I was sitting silently with a friend in front of the old high school that we used to attend.

After a couple minutes of silence, he turned towards me and said: I am going to quit smoking you know, not now, but pretty soon.

My face lit up, and I cringed a little. I felt the same feeling that I usually get when I come into contact with a 130lb teenager wearing extra large sweat pants.

Yes, that was his plan of action: quit smoking at some point. It’s genius, right? I mean, why trifle with what is for some reason considered to be such an amazing goal plan?

Long story short, I ranted for about 45 minutes. 25 of those minutes had me preoccupied with the fact that he was SMOKING while I was trying to create his goal plan.

Anyways, to the point. There was a lot of useful information in regards to goal setting explained during my rant. I feel as if people will truly benefit from my “jibber-jabber”. Here are the main points that were covered.

Perception of time– A lot of people tend to think of time in terms of, well, I don’t even know to be honest. Waiting, procrastinating, plummeting into the cesspool of slowly burning acid, same thing, right?

“I am going to do this”; Ugh… Admittidley, I once spoke like this as well. Waiting will accomplish nothing. If you are in the right mindset at the time of declaring a goal, why not just start then and there? If you procrastinate, chances are you will move on to another goal by the set time in which you decided in regards to your previous goal. The endless cycle continues. It is understandable if there was something stopping him from starting the goal, like personal or physical issues, but there wasn’t.

Metaphorically speaking, I like to think of life like a very slowly moving treadmill. There is no standing still, you must keep moving forward in order to prevent yourself from moving backward. Spend the time that you have accordingly in order to achieve your goals.

What is my perception of time? Well, I view time as an opportunity. Take advantage of any positive emotions that you may feel at any given time. If you are in the right mindset, apply “Do it now” logic.

Rewarding yourself is integral- Reward, It’s what pushes us through school, work, and everything in between. Think about it, would I push myself through 4 years of university, only to receive a pie to the face? No, not even if it was apple. Inevitable reward, it’s what drives us.

Simply Apply the same concept to your goals. Make sure you have a system set in place that rewards you at the end. In regards to my friends nicotine addiction, I reminded him about how much money he was going to save. Here’s what we did.

We pooled up all of the cash that he is saving, about $75 dollars a month, and growing based on how quickly he cut back. That money is to be spent on a new bicycle. The one in particular is turquoise and pink. No, I am not joking. Ive actually lost sleep due to my preoccupation with the thought of a grown 165lb man riding a bright blue and pink road bike.

Now he has something to look forward to. Whether it be to write X amount of articles, eat organic foods daily, or anything business related, I am always sure to clearly define what I will be rewarded with.

Always substitute accordingly- Only refer to this section of the article if you are trying to quit or cut back on an activity or substance.

Smoking, it made him happy and reduces stress. Let’s pretend he were to just suddenly stop. The short term dopamine increase within his brain that results from smoking the cigarettes would disappear. The brain would write an instance like this off as a loss, and addiction would increase dramatically.

So what did we do?

Think, Dave, think… Something that is both enjoyable and reduces stress. Hmm…

Initially, my idea’s of an activity for him basically consisted of team sport’s and your stereotypical, “read a book”. Those didn’t seem to hit a chord, so I just told him to buy roller coaster tycoon 3 and build the biggest theme park ever.

At this point, we were just talking over each other. I went on a separate side rant based on how I enjoy chasing all of the visitors out of my theme park through the use of pandas, and lions. He was trying to explain to me the fact that I was way to old for that madness. He called me a nerd, I called him a nerd, and we basically just settled on the fact that we were both nerds.

Moving on…

After a few moments of silence, I found the answer. I had a closet full of board games, some of which I had never even touched. We decided to get together every second day, listen to some music, talk and play a few games. Perfect! Both enjoyable, and it will give us a chance to De-stress and talk about what’s going on in our lives.

If you are about to lose, always make sure to gain in return. This will even out the playing field and give the brain a chance to use this imaginative “score” to its advantage. I used this technique in order to stop drinking coffee. I ended up replacing it with a healthy alternative -matcha tea.

Be specific- As we continued our conversation, we began to set up his “plan of action”. This was pretty simple, it was just for him to smoke one less cigarette every 2nd day for the next 3 months until he had completely quit.

Call me captain obvious, but some people do create unspecific goals. Ive seen this happen many times before. An unclear definition of success will result in a half baked goal that you’ll just give up on.

It’s always important to keep track of your goals, give them physical presence, and create milestones in order to reward yourself based on your accomplishments. If you are specific with your goals, this will help to streamline all of that.

I know, this is an obvious one. However, it is also very important, so please take this into consideration.

Talk- Well, we have reached the end of my rant, but not the end of our conversation.

This is the part that, well, how should I put this, it just stuck with me.

We began to reflect back on how much my advice had helped him. And that reminded me of how his advice had really helped me at times. Half of my advice was based on the advice of others. I believe that conversation in terms of self improvement is the true shortcut to success. You learn so much in the space of so little time.

My ego had become my worst enemy. Due my perception of superiority, I assumed that there was no need to listen. Perhaps my friend is actually more knowledgeable then I, just because of his ability to listen. I now stay true to the belief that open-mindedness along with a healthy amount of confidence is key.

We said goodbye, My friend thanked me, and I thanked him. I left with an odd feeling that is unexplainable. I suppose I had a lot to think about.

I now talk and listen as much as possible. Learning is a part of growing, and maturing. And I have a lot of catching up to do.

Alright folks, it’s time to summarize.

Goal setting, it’s a structure held together by four pillars, along with bricks in between them. The bricks are easily found. As for the four pillars, they are -”Do it now”, “reward yourself”, “substitute accordingly”, and “be specific”. Once the structure is complete, talk to people, immerse yourself in their world, let them inspire you and begin to build a foundation.

_______________

Mind Development Group

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