To clarify what I mean by that question, I should explain what I think Desires are, what Goals are and their differences. I shall also go into a little detail on how you can best make use of each.
Since this is a blog about the 8 D words, I shall no doubt focus more on the DESIRE word.
What is a Desire?
A desire has a strong emotional effect on the person. Unlike a goal, it is something that usually cannot be described with some sort of measurement or measurements.
Think about that person you like (or liked in the past), the one where your insides went upside-down and you couldn’t help think about them. There was an unformed desire there. Later, it might have become a goal to talk to that person with the hope of having that desire come to fruition.
Another example might be to run a successful, busy business in your town. Perhaps you have this ‘want’ to open a shop? You don’t know how to do it or when it might happen, but it is something inside you that gets you thinking, that gets your blood flowing and your heart beating faster.
Maybe you are fed up with how you look, you are sick and tired of how overweight you are and now you have this desire to become a new you. You look at photos of yourself from 10 years ago and a feeling inside you starts to move and your life begins to take on a new direction.
All three of these scenarios have a potential direction but no outline of how to get there.
A desire should be rooted deep inside you and therefore rarely change.
Desires are all about how you feel inside about what you want and where you would like to be, not about the how. That’s where goals come in.
What is a Goal
In contrast to a desire, a goal does have form. Goals can be measured. Whether they are achievable or not is down to the creator of the goal. You.
Goals can also change. You can tweak them, change the timescale, adjust the breadth and depth of a goal. So long as the goal is aiming in the direction of your desire, then the goal can be flexible.
Why would you be flexible about a goal and its achievment?
We often make goals which, unbeknown to us at the time, aren’t achievable. This is because when we set goals the information we have available to us is incomplete. How often do you hear people saying, “In hindsight, if I had know about x, y and z, I would have set a different goal”?
Also, while goals are great for spurring you on to take definitive action, if you fail to reach said goal, the emotional low that can creep in on you for failing can be destructive.
For normal people like you and I, being flexible about reaching your goal is important for our sanity.
Here is a quick example of someone changing their goal. This happened to a friend of mine during 2020. A global pandemic had hit and, let’s face it, a lot of people’s goals were scuppered and were sinking to the bottom of a deep sea.
So, this person I know, let’s call her Sarah (not her real name), had big plans to open a shop in my home town of Bath in England. She loved gifts and nick-knacks and she had a desire to run a successful business which would provide her a job and enough income to support herself and her two children.
She had some money set aside and was going ahead with purchasing a lease and opening a shop. In fact, she had done! At the end of 2019 just before Christmas, things were going well and she was happy. She was well on her way to hitting her goal. I forget the actual turnover figures she mentioned to me but she was on her way.
Then at the beginning of 2020, disaster struck with lockdown due to COVID-19. Her shop had to close since it was a non-essential shop. She had also not been open that long so she could not get a grant or bounce back loan to help her through.
Her goal of running her own business had fallen off the cliff.
If she had been emotionally attached to her goal of reaching a certain turnover for her store, then her life could easily have made a turn for the worse.
But no, her desire had not changed at all. She still wanted to have a successful business selling the gifts she was able to source. She started looking at social media and by the end of 2020 her business was back on track.
Naturally her goal of hitting a sales figure that she had planned for 2020 did not happen, but her desire had not changed and she is now on a tweaked road. A new goal has her attaining her desire.
So to summarise, cultivate your DESIRES and have them cemented in your heart and mind.
Write your goals down on paper. Paper that can be torn up and re-written.