Thursday, December 23, 2010


Goals... simple stuff really. A goal is just something you want to achieve such as "get that job!", "get a promotion", "run the four minute mile". Interestingly there are some people who have made a career out of studying goals, weirder things have probably happened.

Austin and Vancouver (cool names for co-authors) define "goals as internal representations of desired states, where states are broadly construed as outcomes, events, or processes" which extends the discussion (and the career) on goals.

The upshot is that any person at any moment has multiple goals. Right now I have the following:
  • Sit comfortably
  • Write something sensible
  • Don't let me right eye dry out - as it isn't closing properly
  • Enjoy listening to Portico Quartet's Isla whilst writing this post
but wait there's more
  • In the very near future I will need some sleep
  • Right now I want to keep my body at a comfortable temperature and it's warming up in here
  • I also want to read a few books that I have recently acquired
  • Earn three stars on each level of Angry Birds (known in this house as Cranky Chickens)
This list could extend for a lot longer but it's boring enough.

So what? So everything we do can be interpreted as pursuing a goal. Whoop de do.

What if you want me to pursue a goal that's not on my list? For example you may want to change the way I work. Now we may have some difficulties as your goal may be discordant with my goal. Our first reactions in this situation are going to be interesting.

You - Lachlan just doesn't want to change.
Me - Why would I want to do that? What I am doing is fine.

Is this resistance? Rather than thinking in a confrontational way about the situation perhaps we could consider that we have competing goals and then we can start to dig into what these and whether they can be aligned.

Within the trans-theoretical model this conflict on goals is coming from one person being further through the cycle of change than the other. In my two line example I am in pre-contemplation, I think what I am doing is fine, I have no reason to change. It's back to raising my awareness of the alternatives and the limitations of the way I am acting/working.

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