Going from where you are to where you want to be

Structural Tension: Current Reality vs. Dreams & Goals

There is a natural tension between your current reality and your goal. If you move forward to the goal, that tension gets less and less, which should encourage you to take actions that move you towards your goal. 

So, how do you create that tension in your journey?

Creating Structural Tension

  1. Find your current reality.
  2. Dare to dream. 
  3. Keep your “Why” in front of you. 
  4. Be prepared to move your goal.

Structural tension can help you realize your dreams faster. It doesn’t matter what you are trying to improve, keeping that tension is key to achieving your goals.

The first step to achieving this is by looking at your current reality. That means taking stock of where you are right now. When was the last time you got on a scale? When was the last time you looked at your finances? 

For the longest time, I refused to open up the bank statement because I just didn’t want to know. But guess what? A lot of times it’s not as bad as you think it is. We often concoct a vision in our heads that is far worse than our reality. Put it on paper, break it down, and make it real because you can’t go where you want to be until you know where you are.

The second step towards Structural Tension is to dream and set goals. This is about figuring out where you want to end up. Maybe it’s a number on the scale or having your debt paid off. 

But a dream without a goal never happens. The people who realize their dreams are the ones who set benchmarks and attacked them. Don’t be scared to set a BHAG — Big Hairy Audacious Goal. Those are things you never thought would be attainable in your wildest dreams. If you can accomplish a BHAG, it teaches you that you can accomplish other goals you thought were outside the realm of possibility. 

The third step to creating Structural Tension is to always keep your goal in front of you. Your “Why” needs to be visible for those times when discouragement and temptation comes. Life is not a straight line, it’s got hills and valleys. As you embrace the idea of structural tension, remember your “Why: so that you can give yourself grace and overcome pitfalls.

Lastly, you can maintain Structural Tension by being prepared to move your goal. When you achieve your original goal more easily than you imagined, change it. 

For example, my initial goal was to drop my weight to 250 lbs. and when I got there, I knew I could do better. So, I moved the goal posts to 210. The tension came back into play and I began to work towards that goal. Now my goal has moved again from losing weight to fitness and overall health. 

As we enter this new year, I encourage you to begin the journey again. Life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon full of obstacles. But as long as you have that structural tension, you will make progress and attain those goals you placed in front of yourself.