Our life is filled with goals. We set and achieve them all the time. That's how we get dressed in the morning, how we arrive at work or school on time, how we satisfy that Big Mac attack. They're how we develop an online reputation using social media and how we translate that reputation into increased business or new lifetime relationships.
But these goals, while necessary for daily life, do not inspire us or move us toward greater things. They don't result in the amazing life we've always dreamed of having.
They only maintain the status quo and solve our immediate needs.
But we can take our instinctive understanding of goals and use it to control the direction of our life. We can build achieved Goal on top of achieved Goal until our life has transformed into far more than we ever thought to be possible. How cool is that!
I'm not just talking about goals here, I'm talking about Goals!
Do you need Goals?
Very simply put, Goals are how you become everything you wanted to be in life and how you do everything you really want to do. But it only works like you want it to work when you understand how to use Goals wisely.
Is there something in your life that can be more than it is today? Are there things that would improve your life if they were absent (bad habits, bad situations, etc.)? Do you have dreams yet to be realized and personal growth yet to be accomplished? Do you have a dream, a Vision as to how life may someday be? Goals can help in all of these areas.
Almost everybody has a dream for their life that lies somewhere in the distant future as a possibility. Somehow we think that if we drift long enough in the current of life, that Luck and Chance will bring us our heart's desires and life will magically change into something truly wonderful.
It almost never happens that way.
The life you dream of doesn't just show up by accident. But the good news is, you can achieve what you want in life, and even far beyond what you know to be possible!
It is already within your power to achieve great things. You do it by vividly understanding your dream and using Goals to get you there.
What are Goals?
I have a dream!
- Dr. Martin Luther King
Dr. King's dream was a Vision that changed the lives of millions and its impact has been felt around the world. His dream was so powerful, so vivid, that it has lived far beyond his lifetime.
You and I also have a dream, a Vision for how our life will someday be. A Vision of a world that expresses all that is best about us in a vivid and powerful way. A Vision of a life far beyond anything we have available today.
And this dream, your Vision, can change your world. Through the amazing power of Goals.
When Goals are set within the context of and in harmony with your overall Vision for your life, they become stepping stones that lead you in the direction you really want to go. They pull you forward into the person you’ve always wanted to be, living the life you’ve always wanted to live. Over time, Goals lead you to amazing successes in life that would not otherwise be possible.
Why set Goals?
Everyone of us want to be successful. Dictionary.com defines Success this way.
Success: the accomplishment of one’s goals
Goals are an unavoidable component of success. In fact, they are the only way you can know that success has been achieved!
Goals benefit us even when we fail to achieve them. Even missing a goal, you will still be much farther along in ways that really matter than if you were living without them.
That’s why it’s important to set Goals that are meaningful in life, that are logical steps toward the grand Vision of life you want to bring into reality.
If you have a goal that is imposed on you by someone else, find a way to see that goal as leading you closer to your Vision.
Going after a goal that you see as beneficial gives you tremendous power in your own life and opens up exciting new possibilities you never expected.
Don’t spread yourself too thin
Make sure you have only a few, important goals.
As I wrote in The 10 Steps to Giving With Joy!...
If you gave $1 to 100 different organizations, you would make almost no difference anywhere.
By the same token, if you focus on pursuing too many Goals at once, you will make little progress on any of them, and you will only get frustrated and discouraged. That will become yet another obstacle to setting new Goals in the future.
Stack the cards in your favor. Focus on a very few Goals that lead you toward the great Vision you have for your life, and you will begin to transform what is into what you dream of.
What we learn from Golf
I am amused by the game of golf. I am familiar with the game because I’ve played it on occasion, much to the amusement of the other players. It’s a game where you hit a ball with a stick, chase it down, and hit it again.
It’s very similar to the game of ‘fetch’, except without the dog.
The aim of the game of golf is to lose the ball down a hole (which is a futile endeavor since you immediately take it out again). And, after hours of strenuous effort (and much creative use of language), you end up at the same place you started, the clubhouse. The bottom line is, you spent hours of intense activity and you’re back at the same place you were when you started!
This may be fine for the game of golf, but it isn’t for the game of life. You get exactly one shot at life, just like I do.
It is dramatically important that your efforts move you in the direction you really want to go.
Remember that Luck and Chance do not care if you are successful or not. They will not bring you the very thing you want in life. But neither will they hinder you if you stride out with a purpose, intent on achieving Goals that lead toward your Vision.
Let’s look at golf again. How good would your score be if you grabbed the club that was easiest to reach and hit the ball in whatever direction you happen to be facing? The truth is, we would not be playing the game at all.
And how many times have we lived our lives this way?
When intentionally playing the game of golf, you stride up on the mound (called a tee box), tee up your ball, then take stock of where you are in relation to where you want to go. You know exactly what your goal is (that little hole with the flag sticking out of it), and you will be able to tell positively when you have achieved it (your ball will be in the bottom of that little cup).
You refer to whatever information you have available that might help, such as that sign posted nearby with an overhead view of the hole and the number of yards to the pin. You look about and note what direction the fairway runs and the nature and location of hazards that you want to avoid.
You then plan your next action based on where you need to go from here and what clubs are available, keeping in mind where you will want to be for your next shot. Then you, literally, give it your best shot!
At your new location you again focus on your Goal.
You look at it in relation to your new location and altered circumstances. Things may or may not have worked out as well as you had hoped, but your Goal has not changed. Regardless of any feelings of elation or frustration, regardless of what happened in the past or how you got here, you can now only play the ball to the best of your ability from where it lies.
So you study your current location, consider the hazards you can see, notice any advantages you can use to your benefit and, with your ultimate Goal drawing you forward, again, give it your best shot.
The process continues until the Goal is positively achieved (the little white ball disappears down the little hole)! Woohoo!
If finishing a hole in golf is such a rewarding experience, how much more amazing is achieving Goals that are truly significant and meaningful in life and which lead you in the direction of your life’s Vision!
Notice that achieving each Goal moves you closer to your Vision (arriving at the clubhouse with an inspiring score card). And, once each Goal is achieved, you note the score and set a new one that again leads you in the direction you really want to go.
Notice also in golf, it doesn't really matter how good you are at it. As long as you keep swinging and never give up, you will eventually arrive at the hole and be successful. It's not a matter of if, but only when.
The main thing is, once you set out, never stop going until you get there.
How to set your Goals
Using these guidelines as you set Goals will pack them with power and purpose and make them awesome tools for you:
- A Goal makes a significant difference for you when it's achieved (the benefit must be worth the effort)
- A goal must be in harmony with your Vision (leading you in the direction you really want to go)
- A goal must not be in conflict with your other goals (you can't make a pie and cupcakes in the same bowl at the same time!)
- A goal should be challenging, but not impossible (impossible goals are worthless and harmful, distracting you from good goals)
- A goal must be specific ("play the guitar better" is not a goal)
- A goal must be measurable (so you know positively when it is achieved, and be able to prove it)
- A goal has a time frame for achievement (deadlines give us energy and motivation, and provides us the opportunity to set new Goals)
- A goal must inspire you (the benefits are far too many to list. An inspired you is unstoppable!)
- A goal is written down (never trust your memory, plus seeing it gives it life and credibility)
- A goal is written in positive language (only positive statements give you inspiration)
- A goal is vivid, written in great, descriptive detail (you can see, taste, feel and understand what it's like when the goal is successfully achieved)
- A goal must have an important reason to exist (after all, that is why you chose it for a goal)
Editor's note: The above points will all be explored in greater detail when the new book is released.
A goal makes a real difference in your life and opens up new opportunities that are not available today. Set the goals you want to set that genuinely touch you and move you. A good goal takes something good within you and takes it to a whole new level, making you stronger and more capable in some way.
Now, let's get Goaling
A real Vision excites you, motivates you, and inspires you.
It draws you powerfully forward toward a different place where Success is significant and commonplace. A place where new dreams are born because the old ones have been achieved or surpassed. A place where the world occurs better for others simply because you were there. A place beyond anything you ever expected. A powerful life filled with new miracles, new opportunities, and new possibilities.
Goals are the stepping stones that lead you toward realizing your Vision (the overall environment where your greatest Successes live).
Goals are milestones that herald your success and achievements. They are ladder rungs you use to climb upward, Goal by Goal, to heights you now only dream of, your life's greatest and highest achievements.
You have all that you need for truly amazing accomplishments.
You are an amazing person with vast skills, talents and experience. Today, right now, you are fully equipped to set your first Goal and take your next step. The step that leads you a little closer to the life you dream about, your Vision of your future.
And when you reach your Vision, life will be spectacular and miraculous beyond anything you now know to be possible.
I know, I've been there. And I know you can do it, too.
It's up to you
You've already achieved your first Goal; you read this post to the end. Now it's time to set the next Goal, the one that begins to shape and transform your life into the exciting and powerful life you know you were born for. What are you waiting for?
-Jerry Hignight, Founder - Small Business World