Reaching your Goals – Part 1

I know many are familiar with Stephen Covey. I find him very inspiring and I love his down to earth attitude. The whole philosophy around his approach deals with how to achieve meaningful goals in order to reach what he calls the private victory and in order to leave a legacy. Dr. Covey has an on-line community and he uses this community to teach, for free, how to set up goals and reach them. In doing do, he also teaches important life lessons and in my next few blogs, I wish to share with you some of his wisdom. Today, I will begin with what he calls the ‘Areas of Life’: our body, mind, heart and spirit.

While you read  think of the goals you have set. Are you thinking in a balanced way? Are you setting goals that benefit all four areas of your life?

This is what he says:

“Now think about your life for a moment. You have a body. You have a mind. You have a heart. And you have a spirit. Those are the four dimensions of life. Body. Mind. Heart. Spirit. The interesting thing is that they are all connected, which teaches you – right now – the idea, that you need to think in a connected way, because they are connected. One of the reasons most people don’t accomplish their goal is that they do not do it in a balanced way. They are not connected. They may accomplish a little goal for a short period of time. Soon, it won’t be the case. People that want to loose weight, for instance, might get on a crash diet. But that will affect their mind. They will often become irritable and upset. People don’t want to be around them necessarily. But they might loose that weight. You watch them. A
few months later, they’ll be back. In most cases they are back. Unless they are connected. Just like the body, mind, heart and spirit are connected. That’s why you must think in terms of a balance, an integration of your whole nature. Body, mind, heart and spirit. Now you can start, let’s say, with the body, and say, loose some weight. But then you start
thinking, what about my mind, and my heart, and my spirit. What is your heart? Your relationships. How important are those to you? Think of your loved ones. Think of your friends. Think of your business associates. Your fellow students. Are those also important to you? See, that is connected. The mind that you develop from physical well-being and health will be powerfully impacted. So will your heart. So will your spirit. Everything is connected to everything else. Medicine teaches this. It’s called psychosomatic medicine. The close relationship between body and mind. But we’re dealing with the heart, feelings and emotions. We’re dealing with the spirit. So, you want to think in terms of the four dimensions of life, if you want to really accomplish goals that will be sustainable. That means that you can achieve and achieve even more later and even more later. And that it impacts the totality of your life. It impacts your ability to think. It impacts your ability to give and receive love. It impacts your sense of your own worth, of your own value as a human being. So, all of this is very, very connected.

This is one of the most important things to realize before you really decide what your goals are. In fact, if you were asking me, I would say, “I would have a goal in each of these four areas”. I’d have a goal to get healthy, through proper exercise and diet and so forth. I’d have a goal to be a constant learner. I’d have a goal to constantly nurture your relationships with the key people in your life. And I’d have a goal to serve and to contribute – to make a difference. And to live with integrity. Do you know what integrity means? Look at the word. Integrity. Inte-grated. Connected. So, you’re all connected. Body, mind, heart and spirit. You may want to start with a very simple goal. Maybe just with the body. Or, let’s say a goal to read a book – to learn. Or a goal to be a better friend to someone. Or to build a better
relationship with your parents, or with one of your brothers or sisters. The relationship has been strained. You want to improve it. But I tell you what, you won’t be able to achieve that goal in a sustainable way, that means in a way that you can keep it that way over time, unless you work on the totality of your nature. You have to provide, in a sense, those processes that enable you to achieve a private victory. Private victory:  personal leadership. You know what will happen? You’ll start to realize you’re the creative force of your own life. And I’m telling you, once you experience that – it will change your whole life. You’ll start to realize, “What I could undertake if I wanted to. What I could do. What I could accomplish.” When you’re the creative force of your own life. When you’re not a product of your past.”

Pretty powerful, don’t you think?



5 thoughts on “Reaching your Goals – Part 1

  1. WOW! Alberto I have never thought about goal’s that way before. I can’t wait to read the next part. You mention Dr Covey has a free site on helping with goals can you send it to me? Thank You, Phyllis

  2. Thank you Alberto. I very much look forward to the next installment. I’m struck by the strong parallel between Covey’s advice about FUSING one’s four elements in one’s pursuit of goals, and the fundamental tenet of Zen that we must grow beyond the “separateness” of ego and selfhood if we are ever to achieve enlightenment. I subscribe to no formal religion, but I would guess that all of them wrestle with the most annoying fact that we posit the existence of a spirit from within a limiting and limited body. . .but that limited body is the only platform from which we can quest for our goals. An eternal conundrum! Is not Covey perhaps a little optimistic in promoting an attractive “formula” for achieving goals, when the practical reality of living that formula would prove hugely onerous for most of us? Students of Zen–to work that parallel a little further–study for many years to achieve (often) only a partial integration of the qualities Covey says are essential to achieving significant goals.

    1. Thank youHi Clark,

      I believe Covey is aware of the reality around us and the limitations we have. I believe his formula is what it is: a model that you can work on but per se just a model that needs to be vetted by real life situations and experience.I believe his desire is to teach that giving up shouldn’t be an option. Good to hear from you.



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