I’m a goals-oriented person. I have to-do lists. I have multiple projects I’m working on right now. I couldn’t achieve any of it without setting goals. It’s the way I operate. I don’t think goal setting is reserved for organized, OCD folks like me. The practice is timeless and many of the most successful people in history knew the importance of setting goals. Over the years, I’ve learned three things that have helped me reach my goals and I want to share them with you today. So here goes.
1. Date them
No, I’m not talking about wining and dining them. I’m not talking about dinner and a movie. I’m talking about setting a target date to achieve each goal. This isn’t anything new, but many people flat out refuse to adhere to this principle of goal setting. I think this is the most important component of the “SMART” goals formula—a formula attributed mainly to Peter Drucker. It’s the “T” in the formula. Make your goals time-bound. Set a deadline.
Personally, this makes me less lazy. I can’t sit around and waste my time with a deadline looming. It removes the “one day” excuse. One day I’ll write a book. One day I’ll make my way to the gym. One day I’ll find another job. Setting “one day” goals makes them fairy tale goals—only real in a land far, far away. Setting real, time-bound goals, snatches them from that fairy tale and grounds them in your every day routine.
2. Put them in front of you
Here is the place where most people use the “write the vision” verse out of context. Write the vision. Make it plain. I’m not going to do that. That would be offensive to every Old Testament seminary professor I’ve learned from.
But there is something to be said of writing your goals down and keeping them in front of you. My wife and I have a dual vanity in our bathroom—a necessity with the 2,000 hair products she has. On my mirror, I have note cards with goal reminders. I see those every morning before I start my day. I see them every night before I retire. It says, Don’t forget me. This little reminder keeps me focused on that goal.
3. Saturate them in realism
Be realistic folks. As you know, I’ve set a goal to read 52 books this year. That’s realistic…FOR ME. It’s realistic because I read incessantly. It’s my favorite hobby now (R.I.P. basketball). I wouldn’t expect anyone who doesn’t enjoy reading to set a similar goal. The same goes for any other goal. Plan on writing a book? Cool. But can you write? Have you honed your craft as a blogger first? Ready to record that first album? Cool. But can you sing? What do people say about your karaoke performances?
I’m serious. Be real when setting goals. Yes, our goals need to stretch us. This is especially for Christians who set goals. Obviously, those goals need to be clothed in the truth that, apart from God, they’re impossible to accomplish. But they also need a dose of reality. What can you realistically accomplish in the amount of time you’ve carved out for that goal?
There you have it. Three things that will have you well on your way to reaching your goals. Date them. Put them in front of you. Saturate them in realism.
Question(s): Have you set goals this year? If so, have you done either of these three things?