When you ask the question, sometimes you just drop what you’re doing because it's not a goal you want to pursue now that you think about it. For example, if you are busy criticizing someone, ask yourself, “What is my goal here?” You may find what you are trying to accomplish is to make the other person feel bad, or punish them for something they did. This goal might have been created without your consent by an automatic, emotional reaction. In other words, you didn’t really consciously or deliberately choose that goal.
But now that you’ve asked the question, “What is my goal here?” you can choose. You can think about what you really want in this situation. Let’s say you decide what you really want is to make sure the person doesn’t do it again. Then you’d have a clear goal and a clear path for action. You might simply decide to say to the person, “Please don’t do that again.” Or, “If you do that again, you’re fired.”
Ask yourself, “What is my goal here?” Ask it all the time. It will help you accomplish your goals faster. It’s effective. It’s therapeutic. It’s healthy. And it will make you more productive. You’ll waste less of your time doing things you really wouldn’t do if you thought about it.
Wants are fleeting, changing, whimsical, and often conflicting — and are sometimes too short-term and motivated by immediate gratification. For this reason, “What do I want?” is a lousy question. “What is my goal here?” is much better.
A bad attitude is often just insufficient purposefulness. When you’re on track, thinking about your goal and moving toward your goal, you’re not bothered by annoyances because it is counterproductive to even think about it, just as when you’re pulling your son out of the way of a speeding car, it would be irrelevant whether or not he was sassing you. Don’t resist your feelings or fight them. Just get back on purpose.
Pondering how you can accomplish your goal keeps your mind on your goal, and that’s one of the best things to keep your mind on. Make your goal the central organizing principle of your life. You can do that with this question, asked many times a day, every day, like an obsession.
Ask yourself, “What is my goal here?” Ask it all the time. You’ll feel better and get more of what you want.
Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.
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