That You will
How to set goals is one of those popular topics about which many books and / or articles have been written.
So why write about it here? This is, after all, a Christian web site, isn’t it? Is it really appropriate to talk about goals and / or setting goals on a Christian site?
Absolutely. Here’s why:
- Christians are people and just like all other people we have to live and work in this world
- God is a God of order, and setting goals is all about creating some order in our own lives
- Research has shown that only 3% of all people have set goals and have written them down – and they earn on average 10 times more than the people without written goals
- I’m hoping that this might prompt you into really starting to set goals for your own life.
Now, being a Christian web site we’ll be approaching goal setting from a slightly different “angle”, namely from a Christian perspective.
Although we just spoke about goal setters earning ten times more than other people, you and I will do good to remember that God did not place us on this planet in the first place to earn money.
There are people, the so-called “welfare preachers”, who teach that God wants all people to be rich. And, say these preachers, if you are not rich you are not in God’s will.
According to them, you must simply look for the areas in your life where you are outside of God’s will, fix those areas and you’ll become rich, even a millionaire. Or something more or less like that.
Nowhere in the Bible is such nonsense taught.
On the opposite side are the people who teach that money is bad and that only bad people have money. They say that money is the root of all evil and therefore all people who have money are sinners who should repent, donate all their riches to charity and live lives of poverty.
This, also, is not completely true to biblical teachings.
Just look at people like Abraham, Job, David and Solomon. All these people were considered examples for other people to look up to – and they were all rich. Extremely rich, in fact.
It is not true that the Bible says that money is the root of all evil – the Bible teaches us that the love of money is the root of all evil.
God has a Purpose for You
Having said all of that, it will be good for you and me to remember that God put us here because He wanted to, and He has a specific purpose for each of us.
God has a purpose
for YOU too
But you will only find that purpose if you look for it and plan for it. And when you become ALL that God has planned for you your whole life serves to honour Him.
At this point we have digressed slightly from our discussion about goal setting, so let’s get back to our topic and do some discovering together about goal setting, shall we?
Let’s start this discussion by asking a question:
Is it REALLY as important to set goals
as everyone is making it out to be?
Or is it just a “gimmick” by self-improvement gurus to sell their books?
Well, don’t you think that question is actually a rhetorical one? Of course it is.
We have already seen that research has shown that the most successful people, financially, are those who have clear written goals. But it is not only for financial success that goals are needed.
Let’s explore this last statement a bit. . .
Nothing Happens Without Goals
Sports teams – baseball, football, rugby, hockey, and all others – have a goal, a target, before they enter into any match – their goal is of course to win the match. And this goal is so important to them that they don’t want to leave it to chance, so they plan the whole game out in minute details.
Now if it is so important to reach a goal like winning a match, don’t you think it is much, much more important to plan your life? I’m sure you do.
And yet … most people don’t set goals – even after they hear how important it is, and even though they agree with those sentiments.
If 97% of people don’t set goals, then the chances are that 97% of people who read this don’t have goals. So the chances are actually very big that you, my friend, don’t have goals.
If you do, if you are one of the 3% of people who have written down their goals, good for you. If not, today is your chance to change your life and become a “3-percenter”.
Okay, I’ll do it when I have time, you say. See, that won’t do. Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.
That is true for business, for careers, for sports, for relationships and for every other area of life.
It’s even true for something as simple as travelling – if you travel in a foreign country (or even an unknown part of your own country), you would not just jump in and go, would you?
No, you’ll plan your destination – in other words you’ll set a goal. Then you’ll plan the route. And only when you’ve done it all in your plan you’ll get into the car and drive off.
Now, I believe that Benjamin Franklin's statement can easily be modified to read, “By failing to set goals for your life, you are preparing to make a failure of your life”.
Nothing is ever achieved unless it is first thought about. Everything that we do or say starts with a thought. That means that you already have the beginnings of your goals right there in your mind.
At this point you are probably nodding your head, thinking, “yes, I DO have all those dreams in my head”.
But then, why on earth don’t you work towards achieving them?
There are several reasons why people procrastinate on going all out to achieve their dreams. The most important ones are:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of rejection
- Not believing that they deserve it
Fear of Failure Cripples Most People
Fear of failure has been shown to be the number one reason why people don’t achieve their dreams.
It is a fact of life that things don’t always go as we expect them to go, but if we allow that to hold us back we are robbing ourselves of our own futures.
It is impossible to succeed without failing – sometimes even failing repeatedly – because failure is an indispensable prerequisite for success.
If you really want to fulfil your potential, you have to be willing to risk failure, and even risk it over and over and over again.
There simply is no other way to accomplish worthwhile goals until we have fallen on our faces enough times for us to learn the lessons that we need to learn in order to achieve success.
So, expect setbacks. That doesn’t mean you have to plan for setbacks, but it does mean you must be ready to handle them when (not “if”, but “when”) they occur.
Let’s face it - nobody else is responsible for your life and your future. That responsibility rests squarely upon your shoulders.
Think of the day that you finally get to see your Maker after this life.
Do you think that God will accept it if you blame someone else for not achieving everything that He made you capable of?
Most definitely not!
“But my parents really destroyed my life by the way they abused me when I was a child”, you might say.
While that may be true, it has been true for many other people as well, and they went on to achieve massive success.
Ever heard of Og Mandino? He was “down and out” at some stage in his life. But he didn’t stay down. No, he decided that he would turn his life around, and he did.
The same is also true of many of the most well known and respected successful people in the world today.
You would be surprised at how many of the most successful leaders had imperfect past lives. But they decided to change it.
What happened in your past doesn’t have to have an effect on your future.
Decide To Change Your Life
The way to approach such things is to say, “So what? What is important now, at this time in my life, is not what happened to me, but rather what I’m going to DO about what happened.”
What happened to you happened to many other people as well, and some of them went on to become world renowned successes.
So DECIDE today that you will not allow your past to rob you of your future. Then get busy designing your future the way you want it to be.
Action is the way to get rid of your fears. The more you procrastinate – among other things by not setting goals for your life – the more you will fall into the trap of just letting life happen to you instead of designing your own future.
You Are Deserving of Success
Now let us talk a little about the third reason why people don’t achieve their goals, namely their belief that they don’t really deserve it.
I sincerely hope you’re not one of them!
This belief system comes from within because it is based on poor self image and not enough self respect.
It results in us lacking the confidence we need in order to dare to step out in faith in the direction of our dreams.
If you do have such feelings of inferiority or inadequacy, don’t feel bad about it.
It was said by Alfred Adler that people have a natural tendency toward such feelings.
So you are NOT alone.
But you ARE keeping bad company!
Here follow a few thoughts to help you get out of the inferiority trap:
- First, God has made you in His image. Think about that for a while. That knowledge alone should already be enough to banish all negative feelings that you might have about yourself.
- Second, God has made you a most fantastic creation. The following is a slightly modified extract from Og Mandino’s book The greatest secret in the world
- Your heart is the most wonderful pump ever created - pulsating, hour after hour, day and night, thirty-six million beats each year, year after year, asleep or awake, pumping your blood through more than sixty thousand miles of veins, arteries, and tubing . . . pumping more than six hundred thousand gallons each year
- Your skin is a magnificent creation. Unlike steel, it will never rust nor perish. It constantly renews itself, new cells replacing old ones, in a never ending cycle until the day you die
- And your lungs? Aren’t those portholes to life the most wonderful things? They support you even in the vilest of environments, and they labour non stop to filter life-giving oxygen through six hundred million pockets of folded flesh while they rid your body of gaseous wastes
- Now we get to your blood. You have only about 5 quarts of blood, but in it are twenty-two trillion blood cells and within each cell are millions of molecules and within each molecule is an atom oscillating at more than ten million times each second. Each second, two million of your blood cells die to be replaced by two million more in a resurrection that has continued since your birth
- Your brain – the most powerful computer in the universe. Within its three pounds are thirteen billion nerve cells. More than one thousand billion billion protein molecules help you file away every perception, every sound, every taste, every smell, every action you have experienced since the day of your birth
- And, to assist your brain in the control of your body, dispersed throughout your form are four million pain-sensitive structures, five hundred thousand touch detectors, and more than two hundred thousand temperature detectors
- Within you is enough potential energy to light up any of the world's great cities.
- Third, God loves you! Yes, I know that it is very difficult for some people to accept that anyone loves them, but it is true – God loves you! More than you’ll ever know and deeper than you’ll ever be able to fathom. And He proved it when He chose to let his own Son die in your place on Golgotha.
- Fourth, God made you unique! Never in the history of mankind has there ever been someone exactly like you. Neither is there currently someone alive who is exactly like you. And there will never be someone in the future who is exactly like you. Out of approximately 70 billion people who have ever walked on this planet there is no one like you!
God gave you everything
you need to achieve a life of fulfilment.
All you have to do is to GRAB the opportunities that God sends your way. But how will you know that it is an opportunity if you don’t have goals?
Goals Give You Targets to Aim at
Setting your goals gives you a target to aim at and a compass to measure your direction against. So set your goals, and then start working on a plan to achieve them.
Confucius said, "A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step." That is still true to this day.
And you know what? It's the first step that gets most people down.
Just think about it: it is impossible to take the second step until you’ve taken the first one, isn’t it?
It is also impossible to take the next step until you’ve taken the previous one.
So, by failing to take the first step you are denying yourself the opportunity to take the second step. . . and the third. . . and the next, and the next, and so on. . .
Now think about this: How difficult is it to take the first step? Usually it is not too difficult at all.
But we tend to think, not in terms of steps, but in terms of the whole journey. And then, looking at the big task ahead of us,we think, “Why, I’ll never be able to do that!”
And all the while we only needed to think about the first step!
How to Set Goals
Now, let’s get to the how of setting goals.
- STEP 1 - Decide what you would most like to have, or be or do if there was no way for you to fail. Then decide when you want to achieve it
- STEP 2 - Write that down as your ultimate goal. This is your own “thousand league journey”; don’t get detracted by the fact that it might seem huge!
- STEP 3 - Now, think what person you need to be, or what knowledge, skill or capability you need to have, in order to live that dream life
- STEP 4 - Next, find out where to obtain the knowledge, skills or whatever you need, and find out what you need to do to get that skill or knowledge or capability. Remember, it is not always necessary to go back to formal training in order to get what we want – sometimes we can learn all we need to know from books or from articles on the internet
- STEP 5 - Now start planning the steps that you need to take in order to achieve what you want to achieve. In this exercise you'll be planning the individual steps you need to take in order to finally achieve your thousand league journey. What is the first step? What step follows after the first? What step follows after the second? Keep going until you have broken down your journey into small, manageable steps.
- STEP 6 - Review your plan every day. Remember that this is a journey, and your map (the one you drafted in step 5 above) might turn out to be slightly inaccurate at some junctures. Be ready and willing to change the necessary steps in order to finally reach your destination. Do this every day.
Here are some additional things to consider when you set your goals.
Goal Setting consultants say that we should have SMART goals, where SMART is an acronym for:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Timely
Now let's look at each of those requirements in turn:
Your goals should be specific. Don't put down things like "a nice house" - that's not specific at all. Make it as specific as "a wood cabin on the west coast of Scotland, overlooking the sea towards Ireland". That's getting there, but you can add more detail like the colour of the roof, how many rooms, etc.
The thing is - it must be exciting enough to get your enthusiasm flowing. But "specific" is not only about the "what", it is also about the "why", so also include "why" you want to achieve this goal.
The saying goes, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it". And for your goals it means if you can't measure progress towards it you'll never know whether you're on target.So make sure you specify "when" you want to achieve the goal, as well as the steps in between.
Although this is an important point, you must beware of the trap lurking beneath the word "attainable". You could easily think that a goal is too huge, and then discard it. This is not something you should do. If your goal is HUGE, then simply break it down into manageable steps that each is attainable.
The same warning that we mentioned for the previous point is also applicable here. In fact, you can do, be and have anything that you want, if you really want it bad enough, as long as they don't go against God's order. So, if your ultimate goal is to walk on water, you might want to re-consider it. Apart from Jesus, only one human has ever managed this, and that was only for a few short steps.
Set timeframes for your goals - next week, next month, next year, etc. Make those timeframes realistic and measurable as well. There's no sense in putting down something like "as soon as possible" because that leaves the door wide open for excuses.
Don't Leave Your Future to Chance!
Centuries ago Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do” and he concluded that, given this fact, “excellence is not an act but a habit”.
Your excellence, my friend, is not something that will some day materialise, miraculously, out of thin air. No, it will be due to you having formed the HABIT of daily reviewing your goal as well as the direction that you are going in, and making the necessary adjustments in order to stay on target.
DON’T LEAVE YOUR FUTURE TO CHANCE!!
It was exactly this – NOT leaving things to chance – that Mario Andretti probably had in mind when he said, “Desire is the key to motivation, but it's the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek”.
Mario gave us the clue to really great achievement in that sentence:
- You have to have the DESIRE
- Then you have to have COMMITMENT and dogged DETERMINATION to achieve your goal, come what may
- And, finally, you must have an unrelenting PURSUIT of your goal.
To these three points I want to add an additional one, just after the first, namely belief
When you have the desire, you have to BELIEVE with all your heart that it is possible AND that you WILL achieve it.
Thomas Jefferson made this rather startling comment, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude”.
Your “right mental attitude” begins when you say “I CAN”, and it grows stronger when you say “I WILL”!
Jim Edwards, internet marketing specialist, says the same thing in different words, “Your level of success and achievement in any area of life is in direct proportion to your ability and willingness to direct your thoughts into effective planning and organised action towards a specific goal combined with a strong reason WHY you’re doing it in the first place”!
That’s it. It all seems so easy when we have it written down, doesn’t it? Yet it also seems so difficult, simply because we procrastinate taking the first step.
The Bad News
The bad news is, if you don’t decide what you want from life and go after it, life will give you something by default – and most of the time it will NOT be what you wanted.
So you are ALWAYS going somewhere – either by deciding where you want to go and working on it, or accepting what life hands down to you by default.
Chances are that you have already heard of the “Law of Attraction”, sometimes also called the “Magnet Principle”.
It simply states, “Like attracts like”.
It means that you'll attract to you the people, circumstances, events, money and resources you need to accomplish your goals.
If you don’t have goals, you’ll still attract something, but who knows what?
Don’t fall into that big pool of dissatisfaction simply because you did not take responsibility for your own future!
DESIGN YOUR OWN FUTURE
BY SETTING GOALS!
Go to Fulfil your Dreams
Go to Law of Attraction
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