Anyone who has ever had a go at archery will know exactly how important mental target practice is before you draw the bow. In an ideal world we’d all make plans and goals and then only do whatever it takes to hit them. In reality I know people and businesses whose style is more like aim, fire, then say whatever they hit was their target. It’s an easy out, but not a great strategy for big decisions.
Whenever you’re faced with major decision making a good test is to check your motivation. Are you running towards a goal or running from something – are you escape focused or target focused? Escaping a situation is often driven by reacting and so can be poorly planned, i.e. the only direction you’re headed in is “not here!” Instead, your focus should be on where you really want to go next (not just where the exits are).
A favourite theorist recommends asking yourself this – if the opportunity at hand lives up to 100% of its potential, will it help you to ultimately reach your goals? Going backwards should always be a deliberate move when you decide to do it, not something you realise later.
Escape-based choices only solve half the problem; they get you out, but not necessarily on track. Target-based decisions, however, take in the bigger picture so give you a better shot at being successful.