You’re going to get lots of great instruction, hopefully some inspiration, and maybe even some EVIDENCE in this article on WHY GOAL SETTING MATTERS. So I’m going to simply share some of my story on why it took me ALMOST TEN YEARS to get the message and actually give it a true test.
When I FINALLY GOT THE MESSAGE, it CHANGED MY LIFE.
Sure most all of us have HEARD ABOUT GOALS.
We KNOW we SHOULD DO IT. So why don’t more young people and sales people and entrepreneurial people actually DO IT?
Anyone who’s ever participated in (or even watched) sports, KNOWS about goals.
Hit the ball. Throw the ball.
Catch the ball.
Most of those goals would be in the immediate future, so they’re referred to as “short-term goals.”
And that is the most popular kind in today’s society. Only champions think about longer-term goals.
Like winning a championship or creating a legacy or designing a life.
In 1978 I was introduced to Zig Ziglar and goal setting.
It would be almost 10 years later before Jim Rohn convinced me that Zig was right and I really should set goals. And that if I did, my life would dramatically change.
I knew I should probably set some goals, that it would be a good idea… but did I really have to go to all the trouble of actually writing them down? Couldn’t they just be something in my head? Something I wanted to do or be or have? Wouldn’t that be enough? The answer?
A goal isn’t really a goal unless you capture it on paper.
And even in today’s computer society, I believe it should be hand-written.
Something that you recognize as your own writing, and that it was important enough that once upon a time you wrote it down. Note to me, “Let’s do this…” Now you’ve got yourself a goal.
And somehow, at that very moment, you begin to be pulled toward that thing that you’ve now written down.
You’ll find yourself thinking about it at the oddest hours, and all during the day. Each time you read it, it compels you to answer “Are we there yet?”
Or it should.
Zig’s plan for goals was simple enough. It was really 2 basic steps:
1. Ask a series of questions
2. Make a list
The really big problem I saw right up front is that he told me this process of beginning to set goals would take about 10 hours.
Actually a minimum of 10 hours…and maybe as much as 20 hours!
Well, that’s it then.
I just didn’t have 20 hours I could pull out of a hat just to begin this goal-setting thing. Then he said- “That’s the main reason only 3% of the population have clearly defined their objectives in life.”
That proved my point, most everyone agreed with ME!
It was only later in life that I began to understand that in issues involving top performance, high achievement, getting the most out of a big life, etc. I did not need to be running with the 97%!
Zig’s questions were questions to ask myself.
Once I’d put something on my goals list, then ask if that really is my goal.
Would it be right and fair to everyone?
Could I really commit to it?
Could I see myself reaching the goal?
Zig’s other questions were about becoming happier, healthier, more prosperous, having more friends, peace of mind, becoming more secure and improving relationships with others.
And only if I wanted all those things should I really become serious about setting goals.
While I had several successes over those next 10 years (especially sales successes), I found reasons not to commit to goals. And not to become a person who had clearly identified my goals and objectives and had listed them on paper.
So in 1988 (could it really be 10 years later?) when I met Jim Rohn through his tape series (now called “The Art of Exceptional Living”), he too spoke passionately about setting and achieving in life and work, by writing your goals on paper.
The evidence was overwhelming. Resistance seemed futile.
Both the evidence for achieving through goals, and the evidence all around me that my life and work was not what, or where, I wanted it to be.I needed a new life plan, and here was Mr. Rohn offering his closing argument in the goals case.
So in December of 1987, on a single sheet of paper from a yellow legal pad (I still have it), I began the goal-setting process for my life. Poorly at first, but I did begin.
Many people will tell you that anything worth doing is worth doing well.
That’s why more people don’t DO things… they never start.
Because they can’t do it well in the beginning.
How did it go for you in those first baby steps?
If you can’t remember, ask your mom. What about riding a bike?
You had lots of nerve thinking that when those training wheels came off… you’d still keep right on going!
Man, you were a brave one!
Fact is, anything worth doing is worth doing poorly… until you can do it well.
Begin, and keep at it until you can do it well.
My very first written goal…? To clean out my garage!
Why, you ask?
I absolutely knew I could do that one, if only I applied myself.
If only I went to work and made it happen.
So I did, and then I checked that one off the list.
Set goals early that you know you can achieve.
Get the process going, create some inertia, and feel the feeling that checking some item off your goals list can give you. That’s important.
Years later I took all the loose leaf goal sheets and lists and pulled them all into a single book. A goals journal to keep with me at all times. Just in case I needed to check one off the list or add another goal to it.
First things first–
To get started, let’s take stock of where you’ve been.
Write down some of the things you have already done or accomplished that you’re most proud of.
Could be 10 things or 5 things…even one or two things will get you started.
Now…we make the first list.
Making The First List
The 2 keys for setting a course and a direction for your life are simple.
They are, as many things in personal development, easy to do.
Yet they will always be easier not to do, and that will always be the “common” response to achievement.
Setting goals is as simple as:
1. Writing it down
2. Breaking it down ( I LOVE Dr. Covey’s advice here…BEGIN with the END in MIND)
If you don’t write it down, it’s not really a goal.
And once you write it down, if it really is a goal, you will begin breaking down the how’s and why’s and where’s of achieving it.
But the most important step is in making the first list.
You can become as sophisticated as you want with the later lists, but the first list is just that… a beginning. It doesn’t have to be perfect– it doesn’t even have to be pretty. You may write some things and scratch them out because you decide that’s not really your goal.
Goal lists are interactive, they become stronger and you become stronger as you “engage” the list. Think about
it, add to it, check off your successes, and gain confidence in the process.
Here are some of the possible “headings” for your list:
Can you see how it can be a long list?
And once you begin the process you won’t have any trouble coming up with items to put on the list. In fact, later you should go back over the list and take some things OFF. Things that might not really be a goal, for whatever reason.
What do you want to do, or be, or have, or see?
Where do you want to go?
What do you want to become in the process?
And that is one of the most powerful results of setting goals…
What it will make of YOU! What you actually become in the process.
Young people shouldn’t be so concerned with “What am I getting?” or “How much am I making?”
Rather, gather up all you can in the life experiences department and ask yourself, “What am I becoming?”
What will this make of me?
If only I’ll pay attention and take some notes…
Be a good student and be always in the process of “becoming.”
A big part of personal development is your goals.
And while personal development is very “personal,” here are just a few of my goals so you can see and feel the power of them…
Earn $50,000 in 1988
Develop a Library
Increase Bible study
Live with Style
Build my wardrobe
Family vacation to Disney World
Design, plan, work
Buy a book
Work on better financial plan
Keep a journal
See how the list needs little explanation? Some things are pretty obvious, and some things may be in “code” so that you alone understand what they mean.
Later lists included…
Write a book (first goal written in 1989, my first book published in 2003)
Pursue speaking career (ongoing goal that became my own company in 2000)
Attend more kids’ events (Saw all my son’s basketball games in high school…72!)
Read 5 hours each week
Read 20 books this quarter
Watch less TV
Spend major time on MAJOR THINGS
Plan for more recreation time (sometimes “not working” is important to your work)
Set aside more library time (the easy way to read more books since it’s free!)
Gain greater time efficiency (not time mgmt… ME mgmt.)
Get a good night’s sleep (because at the time, I wasn’t)
Double my income (then do it again)
Live with Style (it was on all my lists…and still is today)
Give generously and cheerfully
Become known as a person of VALUE
Go to seminars whenever possible
Feed my mind
Become a better student
Take more pictures
Keep lots of life notes
Lead with style
Get the idea?
There are lots of other things and lots of other lists that are much more specific, but in the beginning don’t slow down the process. Just begin your list and start writing words on paper.
Your thoughts and ideas will begin to move in that direction–Slowly at first, then faster than you can write. My goals journals today have more detailed lists and contain many writings that you might not expect to find on a goals list.
That’s the cool thing about goals and lists, once you get going and gain confidence in the process you can do most anything you like.
And I hope YOU WILL! Here’s to YOUR BIG LIFE,
And Becoming UNCOMMON by setting and achieving GOALS!
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