Thursday, October 2, 2008

Definition of "Goal"

While reading Dan Miller's excellent book, 48 Days, I once again came across the accepted definition of "goal," which is, simply put, A goal is a dream with a timeline attached. Recently, a coaching client asked me a similar question: Don't all my goals need time determinations?

I've been thinking about that. For a while, I'd accepted that definition, but something just didn't feel right. Today, sitting on the sand in Long Beach, NY, I realized what my problem with it was.

Attaching a time determination to a goal is left-brained, and only half the story.

Sure, having a time for your goals in mind: 5 years, 6 months, etc. and then adding the smaller steps to your weekly and daily list of do-ables is essential. Especially for charting, and for the left brain.

There's a danger, though, in defining a goal as attached to a time limit. What happens when life intervenes and you miss your deadlines? Have you failed at your goals? Obviously, the answer is a resounding "no." If you renegotiate your timeline, does that mean you're redefining your goals? Again, I'd say "no."

So I don't think a timeline is the definition of a goal.

I think the definition of goal is:
A goal is a dream with commitment attached.

Once you have the commitment, the timeline, the do-ables, the actions within the reality of your days, weeks, and months are all tools to use to get there. And commitment is as much a right-brained activity as it is left-brained. Commitment is a whole-brained approach to defining "goal."

I'd love to read your thoughts and responses to this redefinition of "goal."