If you’re like me, you’re interested in the minute details. This can be problematic when it comes to goal completion. Let me give you an example from one of the gentlemen I coach. This is a paraphrase of one of his action items:
Action Item: Bring inclement weather gear for when I want to walk/run at lunch and store it in my cube.
When we met for a life coaching session, we had determined that he hadn’t completed this particular action item. However, as we talked about the situation, here’s what we uncovered:
- He did have the appropriate gear in his vehicle and it stayed there unless it was raining, in which case he used it to stay dry to get in the office.
- Other co-workers had the same gear already in the office and was willing to let him borrow theirs.
The problem he was trying to solve was overcoming rain when he wanted to workout at lunch. While there are gyms and the like around his office, the membership costs don’t fit his budget. So that means if he wants to walk or run, he does so outside in the open air. The action item was a very specific way to overcome the obstacle of a rainy day. However, as we talked, we determined that he had the tools he needed. While he didn’t meet the specific details of the action item, he met the spirit of it.
Don’t get so caught up in the specific language of a goal or action item that you spend needless time, energy, and resources trying to meet the literal goal or action item when you’ve already met the spirit. If your goal is to reach a certain number, such as 155 pounds of body weight, then the literal number is critical. In that case, the spirit of the goal and the literal statement of the goal are one and the same. However, for many goals and action items, sometimes we are able to accomplish the spirit of a goal or action item even if we haven’t the actual language we’ve chosen when we specified the goal or action item.