what games can teach us about goals
Lifestyle Success

What Games can teach us About Goals

I know, you think I’ve lost my mind but bear with me for a moment.

The Goal

Most games whether they be board games or computer games have some sort of goal to them, whether it to be to reach the highest level or to max out the available “land” or to get the most points. You can even apply this to sports. Sports have a goal to be reached – get the more balls in the hoop/net/goal than the opponents. Run faster or jump higher than your fellow competitors. They all have a goal to be reached.

So too with life. We set goals for ourselves to reach – pass that exam, finish that presentation, get the job, find a spouse. Even if we haven’t thought of them as goals, that’s what they are.

The Distraction

most games or sports have an element of distraction in them to stop you from reaching your goal. That can be in the form of side “quests” that might earn you say gold but may not move you toward the goal you were after. Another player might “raid” your village. In sports, this usually comes in the form of defenders. It is their job to make sure you don’t get near the goal and depending on the sport there can be some pretty brutal ways of stopping you. Even sports like Baseball or Cricket, the opposite team is spread out making sure you can’t reach the plate or make that run. Think of Golf – the players have to contend with the wind, the sun and other forms of weather as well as other players and in the big leagues – spectators.

Let’s apply that to life. We can use the exam as an example. You need to study to pass the exam. What are you potential distractions? Perhaps Friends wanting you to go out with them? Is Family interrupting you? Lack of interest in the topic? A TV show you’d rather be watching. Lack of quality sleep preventing you from remembering the information. You can take this apply to any goals in your life. Your own lack of confidence in your skills undermining getting the job you want. Someone else who is interested in the person you desire.

The Decision

Here comes the tricky part. Will you decide to ignore the distractions and push towards your goal? It sounds like an easy decision but sometimes it is not.

For example, what if the distraction is a once in a lifetime opportunity? It won’t move you towards your goal but it is something you will really enjoy. What if the distraction is another job offer that’s not what you had in mind for your career plan but you find intriguing and would be a challenge?

Sometimes the decision isn’t an easy one. And I’m sorry I’m not going to tell you what the right choice is. Why? Because it depends on the goal and how important the goal is to you. It is important to stay focussed on our goals in order to achieve them. However, being inflexible can lead you down paths you later regret. Like the lawyer who realised during Law School that he hated being a lawyer but felt compelled to continue as that had been the goal he was working to and it seemed too late in the game to change. Would you want to spend your life in a profession you didn’t like because you weren’t brave enough to change course when you could have? Perhaps that is your situation now. It’s never too late to change to a path that makes you happy. Though sometimes it will mean it takes longer to get onto that path.

What is your Decision?

As I mentioned above the decision you make will vary and will depend on a lot of different factors. If you take the steps we listed above both when you are setting the goal and repeatedly as you move towards achieving it, you are more likely to be successful either in achieving the goal or deciding to change to a new goal.

What were the steps?

1. Identify the goal – be clear why you want to achieve it. Set a date for achieving it. Detail the steps required to achieve it.

2. Identify your distractions – what will the likely distractions be to prevent you from achieving your goal? When you know what they are it is easier to avoid them or set up systems to manage them. Like hiring a babysitter for the hours you need to work on your business for example.

3. Set regular intervals to review your goal – this will give you the opportunity to remind yourself why you are pursuing this goal and ensure that is still valid. It will renew your enthusiasm for the goal or direct you to a new path that might be more appropriate.

Let me know in the comments below what goals you have and the distractions that you identify. How will you get around them?

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