Using Your Goals as a Filter for All Your Decisions

We write down goals. We stick them on our walls, create vision boards, make motivational memes, and in 6 months we’ve found that we haven’t made the progress we wish we had.

Last year in a conversation on the Unmistakable Creative with Jim Bunch, he posed a question that I’ve thought about a lot over the last several months.

What if you said no to EVERYTHING that isn’t on track with your bigger purpose?

And by everything, he literally meant everything. Last week I said the habits of a professional are dictated by a commitment to his or her craft. The decisions of a professional are dictated by his or her commitment to their bigger purpose.

Throughout our day, we make decisions, big and small.

  • What newsletters we subscribe to is a decision
  • What links we click on while browsing the web is a series of decisions
  • How much time we spend on Facebook is a decision
  • What we wear, eat, and watch on TV are all decisions.

That’s a lot of making decisions that are usually not aligned with our bigger purpose. And It’s easy to forget that our ability to make intelligent decisions (aka willpower) diminishes throughout the day.

  • Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day because of his commitment to his bigger purpose.
  • When Tim Ferriss wrote his last book, he actually didn’t do any in-store book readings. Why? Because past experience showed they didn’t increase book sales.
  • Cal Newport has never had a Facebook or twitter account and limits his time on email. His bigger purpose is a commitment to deep work, and avoiding the cognitive equivalent of being an athlete who smokes.
  • In his book Essentialism, Greg Mckeown says that we overestimate the unimportance of just about everything.

Write down 3 goals. Each time an opportunity, whether it’s something as mundane as subscribing to a newsletter or something as important as working on a particular project, ask yourself

  • Does this take me closer to any of the 3 goals, towards the mountain, even an indirect way?
  • Does it take me away from the mountain, decreasing the likelihood of the goals.

With your goals as the filter for all your decisions, you’re more likely to stay aligned to your bigger purpose.

I’m the host and founder of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast. Every Sunday we share the most unmistakable parts of the internet that we have discovered in The Sunday Quiver. Receive our next issue by signing up here

Written by

Order An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake: Listen to the @UnmistakableCR podcast in iTunes

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store