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5 Reasons Why You Need a Goal Buddy

By Ellesse

It’s interesting how a movie can teach you so much about personal goal setting. Lately, I’ve been catching up on some old movies (on DVDs) that I’ve always wanted to watch but didn’t have the time to. One particular movie inspired me to write this article: Stuart Little 2.

Yes, it’s a 2002 sequel to the story of how a little mouse was adopted into a human family and treated as part of the household. What caught my interest, however was Stuart’s new founded friend Margalo’s (a charming and beguiling bird who was orphaned at a very young age) southern migration at the very end of the story. The flock of birds were flying in a V formation, one leading behind another.

Now, why did those birds fly in a flock? And why, the V formation? My research on this presented one stunning fact after another, eventually leading me into an important aspect of personal goal setting. That probably birds know better than humans on the need for goal buddies and setting goals!

Here’s why.

(1) Synergy

Apparently, for aerodynamic reasons, when birds fly in a V shape, they’re actually conserving 40% of their energy. With the exception of the gutsy bird leading the group, each bird trailing behind the other benefits from a reduction in wind resistance. So they fly much easier and faster. After I read this interesting statistic, a broad smile emerged on my face as the memories of my first unofficial personal goal setting cum goal-buddy experience surged my mind.

During the exam preparation period in my Pre-University days, I’d stay back after lessons to study in a cool sheltered study area. The good thing about studying in school was that whenever I’d any difficulties with the homework, help was nearby. My tutors could be readily consulted in the teachers’ room. Good sources of reference materials were easily available in the library. Soon, I noticed some of my fellow classmates started following suit. They’d be sticking around the same study area and occasionally, I’d find myself involved in study group discussions. Since one of my stronger subjects was in Principles of Accounting, I’d readily help to explain some of the concepts to the others during the discussion. Naturally, I’d receive the same help in my weaker areas. Eventually, our grades did improve.

As you can see, getting a goal buddy gives you immense synergy. You’ll get loads of help from the same person who’s working towards the same target, provided you’re willing to give before receiving. Think of the gutsy bird leading the group, had he not taken the initiative of forging the front, would the whole flock benefit from moving a step closer to their destination? Eventually, its generosity is reciprocated by the other birds which will take turns to lead the flock.

In my case, if I had not shared my knowledge in Accounting, would I be able to get help in my weaker subjects? Would I be able to get better grades? Remember, the universe will always reward the selfless one. When you give, you WILL receive. And, a goal-buddy relationship practically gives you a wonderful platform and opportunity to practice this!

(2) Relevant Advice, Encouragement & Motivation

If the birds could talk, what do you think they’ll be saying to each other? Another interesting fact about my research is that the birds fly in a flock for social factors like communication, protection from predators etc. They’re probably spurring one another on, reminding themselves that the destination is just a flight ahead and uniting together to fend off ferocious predators. Such as pouncing eagles that tread into their flying route.

As you embark on your goals, there are bound to be many obstacles deterring you from moving forward. Be it physical barriers such as a lack of funds for starting a business or non-visible problems like negative remarks from non-encouraging people. They’re, metaphorically speaking, the “predators” treading into your goal achievement. The last thing you want to do is to kowtow to such, and break your path.

Through an effective goal buddy relationship, due to the congruency of the goals that you’re sharing, you’re likely to have better clarity on the conditions you’re facing. Recommendations or even words of motivation and encouragement from someone who’s going through the same predicament as you is much more relevant and inspirational than another person who has never gone through the same. The perceived value immediately augmented!

I’ve noticed this disparity evidently displayed in my own context. A friend who’s been trying to lose weight took immediate action to sign up for a monthly gym membership course on advice from her regular “exercise-mate”. Well, I’ve been harping on her to do the same. But words of advice from a person who’s never have to worry about weight issues definitely carry less influence.

(3) Strong Accountability

What if one of the birds slows down in its speed? Will the entire ‘V’ formation collapse? When a migratory bird or goose decided to leave the ‘V’ shape, it can’t fly and has to join the group again. If one of the geese is hunted, another two geese will leave with it and wait till it dies or recover before joining another group to catch up with their first. Can you see that strong accountability and commitment every single bird has towards the group?

Likewise, saying “No” or “I’ll do it next time” to another person is a lot more emotionally draining than getting up on your butt and doing it. Once you get used to not saying “No”, simply because the mind has associated more pain towards disappointing another individual, your goal just gets moving. You’ll feel more energetic going for your gym workouts because you know that your goal buddy is waiting for you at the treadmill machine. You’ll be more motivated to write another article for your website because you know your goal buddy’s reading your blog. Most importantly, you’ll know that when you slacken in your pace, your goal buddy will pull you back into the race.

(4) Healthy Competition

Who says you need to be foes to compete? Whenever the gutsy bird is tired from leading the flock, it takes turn to move to the back of the formation and another bird will take over. This gives every bird a chance to prove their potential to the rest of the group. In a way, they’re competing.

Now, whenever we talk about competition, we tend to think of it negatively. I think competition, if well managed, is a means to growing exponentially. It’s also the basis for some of the greatest developments in the world. Imagine, if there is no competition, do you think there’ll be so many advanced models of mobile phones or commercial fast food chains to choose from? They’re all a result of competition, where one tries to outdo the other in a healthy and purely sporting manner.

Comparing the achievements or breakthroughs you have attained on your goal, such as measuring the inches lost on your waistline, discussing about the number of sales deals clinched against your goal buddy’s etc, can add an element of challenge to the goal. You’ll feel more compelled to measure up to the “standards”. And that will naturally accelerate your progress. Care should be taken to ensure that the comparison doesn’t turn nasty. Otherwise, it’ll likely sour the relationship between you and your goal buddy’s.

(5) More Ideas & Resources for Rewards

Ahh. Celebration time. If you have more goal buddies, aren’t you going to have more ideas for rewards? You may have thought pigging out at the nearest restaurant is the best reward you can ever have, but what if someone suggests a snorkeling trip at Maldives to you? The birds know how to enjoy too, because, after reaching their destination, some of them will swim in the cool waters of the warm distant south. Others will lookfor food and share with the rest.

Having a goal buddy is definitely a good way to brainstorm as well as pooling resources. You’ll get cheaper air-tickets, for example if you travel in pairs or a group as compared to traveling alone. When you go to restaurants, you may come across a 1 for 1 offer or group discounts. In essence, you get more bargaining power. How’s that for a reason to get a goal buddy? Ha. Ha.

You too, can have more options on how to enjoy the fruits of your own labour if you start planting the seeds now. Find a goal buddy. And get a headstart in your personal goal setting.

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