Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The power of goals

This is the time of year I normally begin to work on setting goals for the upcoming year. Several years ago I heard Zig Ziglar talk about the power of goals. He stated that the vast majority of people never set goals and tend to fare much worse in many categories in life than those who do. I don't remember now the figures he would share, but there was a substantial benefit enjoyed by those who set and achieved their goals. He offered a goal-setting program which I purchased and began to use. After just a couple of years I was convinced that setting goals did improve my life, and I have been a big believer in goal setting ever since.

Many people, perhaps a majority, drift through life hoping that something good will somehow happen to them. Some play the lottery and hope to win big one day. Maybe they jump from job to job, or marriage to marriage, hoping to find just the right match that will bring them great success and joy. Others have given up on life and simply live lives of quiet desperation. They go through the motions of living, but their lives are really empty shells of what they could be.

Those of us who set goals and work to achieve them experience life on a different level. While we also hope for good things to happen to us we also know that hope is not a strategy. We're not going to sit around and wait for something good to happen; we're going to make it happen. We going to identify the things we want to accomplish and determine the things we need to do to help make that happen.

I still use the same goal-setting system I purchased from Ziglar years ago. In this system you not only write down your goal but you go into detail about what it will take to achieve it. This requires some thinking, but it makes for a much more effective goal. On a sheet of paper I write down the goal and then answer a number of questions surrounding the goal.

  1. What are the benefits of reaching this goal?
  2. What are the major obstacles I can expect to face while trying to reach the goal?
  3. What skills or knowledge do I need to reach the goal?
  4. Who are the individuals or groups I need to work with?
  5. What is my plan of action? These are the steps I need to take to enable me to achieve the goal.
When I have my goal written down and I've been able to answer these questions I am ready to begin working towards achieving the goal.

I try to have one or two goals for many areas of my life including my family, my ministry, my auction business, my health, my finances, and anything I feel the Lord is especially wanting me to focus on in the upcoming year. I want to have short-, mid-, and long-term goals for some of these areas. I also want to have several action steps laid out in advance so I can track my journey towards achieving the goal.

There are few things more rewarding that to live life on purpose and with clear goals to guide your actions and thoughts. To complete an action step that takes me one step closer to achieving a goal is a very satisfying feeling. An even more rewarding feeling is realizing that the goal has been achieved. This is far more satisfying that drifting through life with no sense of purpose and little sense of achievement.

Begin today thinking about some worthy goals for your own life. Think through those goals so you can answer the questions listed above and then begin to write them out. If you do so I can almost guarantee you will find you've achieved far more this next year than you normally do and you'll find life much more rewarding.

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