You can spend your life waiting for something to happen, or you can create the life you want. Everyone gets the same number of months in a year, days in a month, hours in a day, minutes in an hour, and seconds in a minute. The difference is how you spend that time. That will determine how your life unfolds and the legacy you will build.
I never took a formal class in how to balance a checkbook. That was a skill I was supposed to learn from my parents or on my own. Goals are treated in much the same way. It’s rare to find a formal class on how to set and deliver on your goals. Instead, you are supposed to just learn how to do that from watching others or learning as you go. The truth is some do and some don’t. And those you don’t are sorely behind in achieving the things that are most important to them.
When you are in elementary school, your goals are set for you. You have no input on your class schedule, teachers, subjects, etc. As you move into high school, you begin to make more decisions about your classes and schedule to ensure it aligns with what you need to prepare yourself for college.
Then when you get to college, you get a tremendous amount of freedom to set your days, classes, professors, and more. But once your formal education is over, you are on your own for the most part. In fact, it’s almost like starting over in some ways.
When you begin your first real job, it’s likely to be well-defined. You’ll know exactly what is expected of you, and your goals will be set for you. But as you progress through the ranks, choose to go out on your own, or take on more complex assignments, you’ll realize that more and more is left up to you to determine where you go and how you get there.
Some thrive in this environment while others don't. I don't believe that setting goals is natural. Different people do have varying levels of drive and ambition. But the discipline of setting and delivering on goals is an acquired skill that anyone can develop over time.
WHAT IS REQUIRED TO HAVE GOALS?
· You have to know where you’re going. If you don’t know where you’re headed, it will be impossible set the right goals.
· You have to define what success means. If you aren’t sure about the outcome you want to achieve, then you won’t have goals in place to move you toward a particular outcome.
· You have to write them down and track your progress over time. If you can’t track your progress, you won’t be able to make critical decisions in the moment or determine whether or not you are on or off track to meet your goals.
If you don’t know the three things outlined above, then it’s going to be difficult for you to set goals. If you don’t set goals, you’ll be subject to the ebb and flow of life which can leave you feeling like a bouncy ball rather than a rocket ship. And if you can’t measure your progress, you’ll never have the confidence to persist in a direction until you have delivered on your goals.
Goals are a built-in accountability system to ensure you end up where you intended, when you wanted to be there, and having accomplished what you set out to do in the first place. Life rarely gives you a map. Most of the time you are simply using a compass and your gut to move forward. Goals become the waypoints in your journey that keep pulling you forward and give you confirmation you're headed in the right direction.
GOALS ARE MORE THAN CASUAL RESOLUTIONS.
One of the traditions around New Year’s Day is setting goals for the year. Most people do this casually. I’ve learned there is a nugget of truth in the things that people articulate in their annual resolution exercise. Most know they need to stop and start doing certain things, but change is hard.
You need goals. Not a year from now. Not tomorrow. But today. And tomorrow. And next week, month, and in the years to come. If you're not setting goals, then you're not maximizing your potential as a person or as a leader. That means you're leaving something on the field. That has to stop. Otherwise, you’ll continue to produce similar or diminishing results.
If you want to change your future, set the right goals today. Do the hard work. Take time to plan. And hold yourself to following through and staying the course. The discipline of consistent execution is sorely undervalued in an instant culture. I hear a lot of people talk about making change—in their life and the world. But lasting change doesn't just happen by accident. It's a daily decision to keep moving in a direction until your mission is accomplished.
If you're serious about wanting to live into your full potential and fully activate your divine design, then you must become serious about setting and delivering on your goals. This is a key subject for anyone I mentor, and it's something you must decide for yourself. Do you want what you want bad enough to set goals and do the work necessary to make those goals true? If not, then you're not serious about accomplishing the things you say you want.
I want to be a world changer, and I bet you do, too. The best way to ensure the seconds, hours, days, weeks, months, and years I spend will lead me to where I want to go. Stop skirting the obvious. You have the power to be and become what you desire. Goals will get you there, but you must take the time to define, set, and track your progress against them.
CHALLENGE: What are your goals? Can you rattle them off the top of your head? Are they written down? If not, write down what you want to accomplish in the next 24 hours. Determine what must take place. Then resolve to do it.