Goal Setting; Part I

To be successful you must have a clear and exciting vision of the future. Clarity of vision today will significantly impact your life tomorrow. Olympians in the sporting arena and Olympians in life are people with an incredible personal vision. They wholeheartedly believe in the truthfulness of the old Japanese proverb which states that “vision without action is a daydream and action without vision is a nightmare” so they act on their vision in a very meaningful and significant way. The first step in turning your vision into reality is to set goals. This is such a vast and important subject it is impossible to do it justice in just one issue. My goal is to present to you the most salient points on goal setting and have you setting powerful goals that will catapult you to the life of your dreams.

Goals-The building blocks to your dreams

Goal setting is considered the master skill of life. It is a vital ingredient to living a successful life and your life will always be limited to the extent to which you master this skill. In other words you may be a good, decent hard working person however your level of success will be limited to the extent that you learn to effectively set goals. If you never learn to drive a car or use a computer it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to live a good life; it simply means that you will be limited to the extent that you can do those things. The same way you can learn to drive a car or use a computer and get better at it through repeated practice; you can learn to set goals and attain higher levels of proficiency by doing it over and over again. Goals are the building blocks to the life of your dreams. Each small goal set and achieved serves as a platform and then a launching pad to increasing levels of success. It is impossible to fulfill the entire vision with one massive flurry of activity however by setting smaller short term and medium term goals you would have put in place the building blocks that lead to the life of your dreams. For example, your vision of becoming a college graduate, depending on the degree you chose to pursue will take between two to five years. It is the act of choosing the college and the courses you will do each semester that form the building blocks that will make that dream achievable and ultimately fulfilled. It is inconceivable to eat an elephant with one big gulp but you certainly could get the job done with many tiny bites.. So it is in fulfilling the vision you have for your life. Yard by yard life is hard, inch by inch life’s a cinch!

Goals- Chose your own

A few months ago my seven old son Brandon, came to ask my advice about what he should be when he grows up. Apparently his cousin, who happens to be round about his age his grandmother and think that he should become a doctor. At this age the little fellow has a liking to red fire trucks and sees himself as a fireman. I once asked why he wanted to be a fireman and he told me that it is so that he can save me if there was ever a fire. How can you not just love a son like that! At any rate he was in a quandary as to what he should do. I reassured him that he can do, have or become anything that he chooses but it was important that it was his choice. In the same way we must not allow others to craft our vision and define the limits of our success, we must be careful not to allow someone else to choose our goals.

Subconsciously, many of us are influenced by a dominant personality or someone we simply want to please. When I graduated high school I wanted to enlist in the Officer Corps of the Jamaica Defence and eventually attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England. My father wanted me to go the local university and study “chemistry or something like that”. I didn’t even like chemistry. I stuck to my guns. I am pretty sure that had I folded and pursued my father’s goals for me I would have missed the opportunity to be a part of Jamaica’s first Olympic bobsled team. So, whatever your goal is be careful that is something that YOU truly want to do. Don’t try to please anyone else because you will spend the rest of your life wondering what would have happened f you had pursued your own dreams. There is nothing worse than looking back at your life with regret.

Goals-Steer you in the right direction

Imagine that you are on a cross-country trip to Florida. If you happen to live in Florida, imagine you are coming to visit me in the Big Apple. You would no doubt have a tank full of gas, some of your favorite snacks and of course the exact address of where you were going. However if you have never made the trip before and didn’t have a map, there is no way you could get to your destination in a timely fashion. Undoubtedly you would eventually get there but only after a long exhaustive trip plagued by detours, going around in circles and retracing your steps. Does this sound familiar? Isn’t it true that this is how some people live their lives? This is a true indication of a life lived without goals. They see the vision and take off without planning their route and end up frustrated and dejected, sometimes even giving up on the dreams because the road is just too difficult. Most people spend more time planning a vacation -making the hotel reservation, booking the airline tickets, renting the car, buying the clothes, (the list goes on) than they do planning their life. Which is more important to you?

Those with goals aren’t guaranteed a nice easy road ahead but at least they are always able to take their bearings because they planned their route. Even if they have to take a detour(we all do every now and then) they know how to get back on track because their goals serve as a road map. Someone described goals and dreams as magnets that pull you towards them but I prefer to think of them as a compass that points along the path to success and ultimately to life you have envisioned. Having a sense of direction and ultimately the opportunity to march in the opening ceremony of your dreams and to live the life you have envisioned is one of the great benefit of goal setting.

Goals – The motivation to achieve. Investing the time and energy necessary to do the soul searching to determine your goals will reap handsome rewards in the powerful swell of motivation it produces. This incredibly powerful tool for success flow naturally when you set goals, compelling you to do everything you can to get better, withstanding distractions and temptations and staying focused on the outcome you have envisioned. When you set powerful goals they live and breathe inside of you. You will get up early and work late. Throughout your day you’ll be constantly aware of what you need to do and you will have boundless energy and an envigorating sense of control over your life because you have the motivational energy.

Action Steps

1. Armed with a note pad and pen set aside about 25-30 minutes of quiet time for yourself. No cell phones or other external distractions.

2. Close your eyes and as deeply and clearly as possible picture what you would like your life to look like in the next 5 to 10 years.

3. As quickly as you can begin to list one below the other all the things you would like to have, do or become. Give no thought to whether you think its feasible or not, just list EVERYTHING

4. Repeat the exercise until you think you’ve got it all down on paper

Keep On Pushing!

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