Every day we are moving forward in a direction toward something. Understanding what that something is and why we want it will help with the momentum and pleasure of the journey.

A road with arrows pointing in different directions.

The first step is to want or desire something as this propels our direction and focuses our energy. This results in a goal. Goals that have your heart in them are more likely to gain momentum and succeed. There is a real difference between a parent telling their child to get a job, and the child deciding they want a job so they can buy their first car.

Direction is fuelled by motivation and requires support with a plan. Without a plan, you plan to fail! To avoid getting overwhelmed with the planning, it is easier to start at the end and work backwards.

A business woman points to a board with a plan.

Take this example: the end is when the young adult is paying the dealership in exchange for the keys to the yellow mustang just before graduation next spring. The car has been identified, so the amount of money needed to pay for it has been determined. If the money isn’t already available, then the mind automatically goes to figuring out what must be done to get the money. This leads to the desire to find a job. There is now a simple plan in place: find a job, save enough money and buy the yellow mustang next spring before graduation.

Wishful thinking is not a strategy. A plan needs action. The best way to direct action is to have a checklist to focus your efforts on your direction and desired results. In the above example, finding the job was the first priority towards buying the car, so a list of activities to get that job is required. Then each day move forward on the checklist. By breaking the plan down into smaller tasks, it is easier to stay focused and avoid being overwhelmed.

Acknowledge the daily accomplishments and stay tuned into the feelings of why this direction is important. Assess the progress and adjust the plan as necessary. Inch by inch it’s a cinch; by the yard it is hard.

Sometimes flexibility is required. You could sidetrack yourself if you aren’t flexible. The founder of the Inner Peace Movement used to tell the story of a man who is looking for a job. He arranges an interview and wants to get his hair cut so he looks and feels good for his interview. When he gets to the barbershop, his usual barber isn’t there. If he is inflexible, he will leave the barber shop without getting his hair cut. If he is flexible, he will see that another barber is available and that he can still accomplish his goal of getting his hair cut. In other words, when needed, be flexible, look for alternatives and don’t get sidetracked from your target.

No matter what direction you set for yourself, put your heart into it and get moving. Enjoy the journey!