Goals: That one simple word holds so much power. Yet very few people really use it, truly understand it, or harness the power of it. It is amazing how my life transformed after I was exposed to the power of goals. When I joined the LIFE business, my eyes were opened to how goals could help me pursue my dreams. If dreams are the destination, then goals are the path to get you to your dreams. If you only have a dream, it may take you a very long time to get to your dream, or worse, you may never get there at all. Goals are what keep you focused, moving forward, and out of the ditches of lost dreams. Let’s take a look at what The Magic of Thinking Big teaches about goals:
A goal is an objective, a purpose. A goal is more than a dream; it’s a dream being acted upon. A goal is more than a hazy “Oh, I wish I could.” A goal is a clear “This is what I’m working toward.” Nothing happens, no forward steps are taken until a goal is established. Without goals individuals just wander through life. They stumble along, never knowing where they are going, so they never get anywhere.
Let’s start with the big picture first and then work backwards. How do you picture your future? What does your family look like? How do you act ? What does your relationship with your spouse look like? How is your faith? What business do you own? What kind of house are you living in? Do you have multiple houses? What kind of cars do you drive? What do you look like physically? Are you funding any charities? When you do this part, you should write it out and keep the paper somewhere visible. This will serve as your overall life template.
This is the time to really try and stretch your dreams. One of my mentors Chris Brady says, “Most people way overestimate what they can do in one year and drastically underestimate what they can accomplish in ten years.” Another way of putting it is that you should almost laugh at what you put down because it seems so improbable at this moment in time. Won’t it be fun to go back to this list and discover that you accomplished everything on it? You will think to yourself, “I should have dreamed bigger!” Once you have the dreams written out, you can start to set goals to help accomplish the tasks. You may not even know what goals to write down yet, but that may lead to your first goal: find a mentor that can guide you to these dreams. One thing I have learned about successful people is that they are dying to help others accomplish their goals. The people who will give you the hardest time about achieving your dreams are the ones that have achieved the fewest themselves. Any successful person you talk to will give you all the advice he can because he has already achieved that goal himself.
For the next step, you need to realize that your brain wont just say, “It’s a great day; we are going to accomplish something.” No, your brain will immediately begin to tell you all the reasons why you can’t make these dreams and goals happen. Here are six success stealers that you must figure out a way to eliminate:
- Self-depreciation: I can’t do it. I’m not good with people. I don’t have enough money. I don’t have enough time. I’m not that kind of person.
- Security-itis: Things aren’t that bad. Our relationship is okay. I really don’t need that house. I don’t want to risk my security.
- Competition: That field is already overcrowded.
- Family pressure: I should listen to what family members think is safe for me.
- Family responsibility: I should have done this a couple of years ago, but now I have too much family responsibility.
- Dream stealers: These are the people that haven’t accomplished their dreams and want you to be safe instead of pursuing yours.
So how do you set goals? You just established the big picture of what you want. You know what the end destination looks like. Now you have to start mapping out how you are going to get there. There will be road blocks, accidents, and flat tires along the way, but that doesn’t change the end destination; it just changes how you are going to get there. You can’t set a ridiculous goal that you know you won’t put in the work to accomplish, but you also don’t want it to be so small that it requires no effort.
With all that said, I would venture to say that most people are not in the habit of setting goals, so start with this: In whatever area you are looking at, determine what you could for sure do. Examples: Read a page a day, listen to one CD per day, eat 100 fewer calories per day, run for five minutes every day, etc. Once you have that established, add a little bit to it: Read two pages per day, listen to two CDs each day, eat 150 fewer calories per day, run for eight minutes every day, etc. Another factor that affects your goals is how fast you want to accomplish them. Bestselling author and leader Tim Marks says you need to know: “What and by when?”
This is what The Magic of Thinking Big says about why goals are so important:
Successful people have their eyes focused on a goal and this provides energy. The point is this: energy increases, multiplies, when you set a desired goal and resolve to work toward that goal.…The most amazing thing about a deeply entrenched goal is that it keeps you on course to reach your target. This isn’t double talk. What happens is this. When you surrender to your goal, the goal works itself into your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is always in balance. Your conscious mind is not, unless it is in tune with what your subconscious mind is thinking. Without full cooperation from the subconscious mind, a person is hesitant, confused, indecisive.
WOW! I know I have felt hesitant, confused, and indecisive a bunch of times, and it was because I wasn’t sure what I was chasing after. The overall concept is that it is much better to have some goal than to have no goal at all. If you have a goal, at least you are moving toward something, and that is much better than moving toward nothing. My mentor Orrin Woodward often says,” If you don’t set a goal, you will hit it with amazing accuracy.”