Why is it that so many of us are frustrated in our attempts to achieve our big goals? Steve McClatchy believes that we make decisions about how to achieve these goals based on the faulty assumption that all goals and tasks are to be managed the same way.
He explains that there are two forms of human motivation: those driven to Prevent Pain and those for Gain. When we take out the trash or go to the doctor for our yearly exam, we are acting on the goal to Prevent Pain. But when we opt to focus our energies on writing our book, going back to school, or learning to play an instrument, we are going for Gain.
Prevent Pain tasks can fill your day and leave you feeling tired and depleted, and Gain tasks can make you feel accomplished and exhilarated. So why don’t we focus on Gain tasks?
McClatchy, in his excellent book, Decide, states that the only way we can experience true joy and satisfaction in life is when we focus on Gain since it is here that you are happiest with where you are and where you’re going in life. Choosing to invest in oneself by going to school or writing that book, while putting more on your plate, will paradoxically allow you to experience more balance, and therefore, more joy.
McClatchy notes that most of us don’t get to our Gain tasks because we prioritize by urgency and not by results, and are focused on our To-Do lists and not our calendars. Instead of prioritizing by urgency (that which is the most urgent gets an A on the list), keep your A list comprised of only those key tasks that will give you the results you desire (e.g., begin outlining my book). B’s include important maintenance tasks, and C’s are purely maintenance. That way you focus first on allocating time and resources to those items that will get you where you want to go.
Next, he advises that you use your calendar to block out time for your A priorities. If you want to write your book in 2015, you need to block time on your calendar. “The reason so many people fail to achieve their goals is because they have not committed to defending a time in which they will work on their goals.”
So what in your life is worth defending on your calendar in 2015? Is writing your book, going back to school, climbing that mountain, or learning a new language on your A list? The New Year is the perfect time to create your own bucket list of your Gain tasks that will help you achieve your goals in life!
And, you might want to put the item, “Read Decide” on your 2015 list of resolutions!