What good are goals?
Have you ever thought:
“What good has come from setting goals… aren’t they just big wishes we write down that will never come true?”
I sure hope you don’t think that way, but if you do, I’m going to take on the task of explaining to you the powerful benefits of setting goals even if you don’t achieve the ‘big’ goal you set for yourself within the time you set for it to be accomplished.
1. It sets you on the path and gives you clarity. I set an odd goal back in the year 2000… most people think it’s a strange goal, but I knew what I wanted and believed that God would provide a way if my goals were good. I set a goal of being married by September 2001, 6 months after returning from two years of church service in Mexico. I was engaged in July 2001 and originally we had set a date to be married shortly thereafter in October, but for some family logistical problems, moved it up to September 28, 2001.
In March 2001, I was just returning from serving as a missionary for 2 years among the Mexican people of Veracruz. I loved it there and accomplished that goal of being a missionary for my church. It was hard and it taught me a lot about life and what’s important. However, when I set my goal of being married within 6 months of returning from Mexico… I had no idea how I was going to do that.
I didn’t have any ‘prospects’ : ) and I didn’t even have a girlfriend, but I knew that I wanted to start my life with my wife (whoever she would be) that year. Now, I know that you are totally convinced that I am a weirdo for setting a deadline for getting married, but here is what it did for me. It helped me to focus on the “one thing that would have the biggest impact on my future”. I knew that in that time of my life, having a supportive and loving spouse to be with me through the battles of life was what I wanted and needed.
2. You reach ‘smaller goals’ along the way that you would have never reached if you had never set a goal in the first place. The ‘path’ and ‘journey’ are the rewarding part where we learn and grow. I recently reflected on my past goals and my original ‘plan’ for achieving those goal and it surprises me how often my plan for accomplishing the goal is totally different from my original plan. The goal is what sets our sights or direction and what keeps us moving forward, even when everything is changing along the way. What’s good, is that we still accomplish little goals and reach benchmarks along the way.
Recently, I decided that I wanted to ‘bulk up’ and not be the skinny guy at 6’2″ and 182 pounds. I set a goal that was a stretch (200lbs w/8% body fat) and I still have not reached that goal, but since I set the goal, I have had tons of other accomplishments. For example, I doubled my deadlift weight in about a year and I got my increased my muscle mass by about 12 pounds. I have a ways to go to reach my goal, but I am healthier because of the ‘larger goal’ which I have set, which caused me to start on the path better health.
3. Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time. If you can only truly focus on one thing at a time, then by having a clear ‘major goal’ you will have clarity in all of your decisions. If you have a strong enough ‘why’ attached to the goal, then when presented with a situation to continue on the path to reach your goal or deviate from that path, the choice will be simple. I believe that a percentage of the depression cases in our Country would be eliminated if we all set goals and had clarity of purpose and direction in our lives.
Think back to the time when you felt most frustrated or depressed. Did you have any goals and a firm desire or reason why you should accomplish the goal along with a belief that it was possible? For me, I can pinpoint almost to the day when I felt the most despair and fear. I felt like I had no power or control over my life …and it just so happens to be right at the end of a period in my life where I stopped setting goals. I stopped directing my life and let life take over and push me in any direction it wanted. The results were horrible. So I took back control and set new goals and direction and my World and my attitude drastically improved.
Finally, what I am about to say may be taken the wrong way… but please understand I am saying what I have experienced, so your experience in life may teach you something else; The current situation you are in (health, relationship, wealth, mental state, etc) is a result of the decisions, actions and effort that you put into your life over the last 6 months.
This is GREAT news, even if your life sucks right now. Why is that? Because you can radically change your results by changing your ‘input’ into your life starting today and going forward. Sure, a lot of what you have in life is determined by decisions years and years ago, but a large portion of your current life could have been dramatically altered if you had made different decisions and took different actions with more effort just 6 months ago.
Enjoy life! Set goals to give you direction, clarity and hope and you will see changes, I promise.