By Biodun Da-Silva
I was sitting in my living room, exhausted from watching movies on Netflix and wondering when we’ll return to our normal lives.
For obvious reasons, I miss my old life and schedule – I never thought that I could ever get tired of staying home for an extended period of time despite being a couch potato and an ambivert.
I decided to give the TV remote control to my hubby to watch soccer. Surprised, he asked, “are you sure?” Knowing fully well that I do not enjoy the game. I said “yes”. At this point, I didn’t care what was showing on the television, COVID-19 has finally broken me in a special way.
While he was watching the game, I kept my gaze on the screen and my subconscious mind was wondering what the essence of the sport was and why millions, if not billions, of people across the world enjoy it. I also wondered in amazement why grown men run after a ball.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a comprehensive understanding of the game of soccer but what fascinates me most about it is that without a goal post, the true essence of the game will be lost and the grown men playing will be exhausting their energy and wasting their time. In other words, the inherent component of the game boils down to scoring goals and those goals define who the winners and losers are.
In that moment, I related the game of soccer to real life. Everything we do (be it intentionally or inadvertently) has a goal post attached to it. From our clothing, down to the food we eat -there is always something we are aiming to accomplish. Essentially, dynamics of soccer isn’t very different from the lives we live. Without a goal, we will be running in circles.
Goals give life meaning and purpose. It is easy to set a goal in certain times of our everyday life, but what about uncertain days or times? Times when the odds are stacked against us or when it’s difficult to see what lies ahead of us. Uncertainties/crisis uproots the goal post but expect us to create a new one.
In January, I never would have thought that 5 months down the line, there will be a lockdown, neither did I envisage being forced to live through it. Plans have been made, particularly being an entrepreneur, quarterly and annual goals have been set. But here I am, living a day at a time with no inkling of what tomorrow will bring. But what is certain is: there will be tomorrow and life’s uncertainties are a phase. The disruption it brings could be temporary or permanent, depending on how effective we utilize these moments.
Here are 3 ways to set goals effectively during uncertain times:
Understanding the times
Life is not a straight shot – it is unpredictable. There will be storms, curves, bends and our ability to adapt to them will be tested. Because uncertainties are usually situations that are outside of our control, it is salient to understand the circumstances before setting any goal.
Get the context
It is fundamentally important to get all the specifics of the uncertain times before setting a goal. Not getting a thorough context of a situation before making a decision or jumping too quickly to conclusion is not wise. Are they short or long term uncertainties? What are the impact of the disruption on your current goals? What are the inherent challenges and disadvantages of not responding to the circumstances, etc.
Getting the accurate context of your situation gives you a broader scope of knowledge about the present state of things and will enable you create an environment to proffer solutions that fits your needs and ultimately, your goals.
Setting your goals
When you understand and know the specifics of what the uncertainties are, setting a goal that fits the times will be uncomplicated. It is not feasible to place our lives on auto pilot during uncertain times. There are several things we can do to remain productive and keep hope alive when we are in situations that are beyond our control.
Just like the athlete, when we live our life without a definitive goal, we are living aimlessly – without purpose. Life, without purpose, has no meaning, either in certain or uncertain times. We would be exhausting the energy we should otherwise conserve for productive activities on nothing concrete and above all, we would be wasting precious time. Time is the most dangerous commodity to lose.