There’s a common myth out there that the hard things of life need to be complex. Too often, we want to treat goal setting, personal development, or a desired transformation as some advanced calculus assignment.
The problem is that we’ve mistaken complex with hard.
The truth is that any goal we set doesn’t need to be complex, in fact in order to succeed, it should be complex. It should be simple.
But just as hard and complex don’t mean the same thing, neither do simple and easy.
Goal setting, lasting transformation, and any sort of change won’t be easy. But that doesn’t mean it has to be complex. In fact, the more complex it is, the less likely you are to reach your goal.
Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it well enough.” The same is true for setting goals. If we can’t set clear and simple goals, we won’t reach them.
Getting out of debt isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be complex. Start asking the hard questions: How much do I (actually) make every month? How much do we spend? What areas could we cut back on? Is that new luxury couch a necessity?
To get out of debt: create a budget, spend less than you make, get out of debt, don’t break the rules no matter what. Save money, invest in retirement, plan ahead. It’s simple, but it’s not complex. There are even free resources out there like everydollar.com that can help you with a simple (but not easy) approach.
Creating a great marriage works the same way. There is no magic formula, no secret approach, no divine liquid for you and your spouse to drink that makes everything work. Instead, just create a simple plan that works for you two. Decide: will my spouse be better nurtured by me working an extra hour at the office tonight or by going home on time and giving them my full attention? The answer? Leave work on time. Don’t believe me? Ask them. The answer is simple, but the work will be hard. When we’re accustomed to working long hours, the pull can be to stay late to feel like we’re pulling our weight.
Put in enough late hours at the office and you soon won’t have a spouse to go home to.
We’ve talked before about how goals need to be clear and concrete, so just add simple to the equation, generally that means no more than about 25-50 words per goal.
1.) I want to lose five pounds by March 1st by exercising four times a week for at least thirty minutes, cutting out all desserts, and getting at least seven hours of sleep a night. (34 words)
2.) I want to have a strong marriage that is edifying, uplifting, and beneficial to my spouse and I. I will do this by having a date night at least once a month, stopping work to be home in time for dinner every night, and not bringing work home with me. (50 words)
3.) I will grow my leadership this year by reading at least ten books, attending one conference, receiving regular feedback from a mentor at least once a month, and growing my emotional intelligence. (32 words)