Without meaningful and clear goals you would just meander aimlessly through life because you would have no vision for your life. And the Bible says in Proverbs 29.18 that where there is no vision, the people perish. Wow, what a strong statement. To perish means to die. If you don’t have goals it means that you will stagnate, quit growing and that means you’re dying. Perhaps not physically, but it might as well be so.
Some people do set goals, especially around New Years’ day. It is usually some very vague goals like: “I’m going to get closer to God this year” or I’m going to start going to the gym” and most don’t write them down. That is a failing formula right there. In addition to that, it has been proven statistically that 25% of people abandon their goals within a week after New Year’s Day and 65% abandon their goals within 6 months after setting the goals at New Year’s. Yikes.
So what can be done to increase the chances of attaining and achieving a goal? Well, it’s actually quite simple.
Dr. Gail Matthews has done a study on goal setting and achievement and found that if you write your goals down on paper it increases the probability of achieving those goals by 42%! That is a vast improvement and is amazing. It definitely makes it worth the small effort of writing your goals down.
10 goals for 30 days
Brian Tracy suggests that you get yourself a spiral notebook and write down your top 10 goals for 30 consecutive days. But when you write down the current day’s goals, don’t look back at what you wrote the previous day, just keep going. This will just help you get absolutely clear on what your most important goals really are. The ideal number of goals to write down is between 7 to 10 goals. If you write too many you could start feeling overwhelmed and that certainly is not the goal!
Make sure that your goals are measurable and that you put a deadline to it. Don’t just say: “ I want to lose weight”. That is not a goal, but a dream. So when does a dream turn into a goal? When you put a deadline to it and when it becomes measurable. So rather say, “I want to lose 10 pounds by 30 June.” Now that is specific and very measurable. This is what is meant by SMART goals.
What are SMART goals?
It is an acronym for a goal that meets all of the below criteria.
S – Specific, M – Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Relevant, T – Time-Bound
If a goal has all the elements of a SMART goal it dramatically increases your chances of achieving the goal.
Your goals must be so clear that even a small child will be able to understand what it is that you’re aiming for.
Make use of a vision board
If you want to supercharge your goals, then I would suggest that you make use of a vision board or a goal book. I know many people just have one board, but I would suggest at least two. Well, it’s better to separate your medium to long-term goals(5-10 year goals) from your short-term goals(1 year to 18 months).
Here’s why. Normally a long-term goal is harder to achieve and usually takes longer than a short-term goal to achieve, so you could become frustrated and give up on your goals altogether if you don’t achieve your long-term goal in the short-term.
For example, if your goal is to save $100 000 in 12 months, but you only make $60 000 per year, then that would be a totally unrealistic goal and you would be setting yourself up for failure. But if you say: “I want to save $5000 in 12 months” then that is a totally realistic goal. Rather say: “I want to save $100 000 in the next five years’ time” – that is realistic.
I’m not saying that you should limit yourself, not at all. We serve a God who specializes in the impossible and the miraculous, but you also have to have to be realistic with the time limit you put to your goals.
Long-term and Short-term goals
And that is why I suggest having two vision boards/goal books. One for goals up to 18 months (preferably a year) and one for your longer-term goals. Start with the long-term goals first. Determine those first and get clarity on what those are, then you work backward and figure out what it is that you have to start doing today and over the course of the next twelve months to be able to eventually achieve the larger goals. In other words, you will have to break up the big goals into smaller goals that can be done now already in order to achieve the long-term goals.
Let me give you an example.
A high school student dreams of becoming a medical doctor and graduating from an Ivy league school one day. That is the long-term goal. He still has two more years of high school to go, so what must he do in the next year? Well, his short-term goal for the next year is to work hard and keep his grades up, get involved in community work to better his chances of acceptance into an Ivy-league school, etc. That is his job now – for the next year so that he will be able to get into an Ivy-league school in order to become a doctor.
Can you see what I mean by working backward in order to determine what your goals should be for the next 12 months? Short-term goals feed into long-term goals. Short-term goals often form part of long-term goals.
It is important that you keep both sets of goals in front of your eyes on a regular basis. Read your goals daily (after the initial 30 days of writing down your top 10 short-term goals) and look and pray over your vision boards/goals every single day.
Goals are like a roadmap for your life. If you don’t have them then you don’t know where you’re going and you could end up anywhere or probably in a place that you don’t want to be.
So, get out a piece of paper and get your brain fired up. Start thinking about what it is that you would like to do, be or have? Write it down. If, you’re uncertain about what you wrote down, throw it away and start again. Pray about it. Give yourself permission to dream. Do this until you have absolute clarity about what it is that you want to achieve. Then and only then commit to those goals and start working towards those dreams and goals that stir up your heart.
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