You might have heard the saying that most people overestimate what they can do in a year but underestimate what they can do in a lifetime. Goal setting and implementing goals is the bridge between your current reality and your future vision. It’s one of the most liberating, empowering feelings when you know your life has purpose and direction and daily you’re taking actions to turn your goals into reality.
In the Lewis Carroll classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, there’s a telling exchange between Alice and the sinister Cheshire Cat:
One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
‘Which road do I take?’ she asked the cat.
‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response.
‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered.
‘Then,’ said the cat,‘ it doesn’t matter.’
Having a direction gives you something to aim at; a purpose and meaning to your actions and a means of measuring whether you’re on track and how much progress you’re making.
Without one, as the Cheshire Cat says, you can just walk in any random direction along any pathway.
Goal Setting Success…
#1 Goals create focus and direction
Where focus goes, energy flows.
As human beings, we have an abundance of latent potential just waiting to be unlocked. Focused goals are the magic key to unlocking the door to the source of power: all your resources, including your mindset, physiology and whole being, hot-wired to the attainment of your biggest, boldest dreams and goals. Goals breed focus.
#2 Goals give your life meaning and purpose
The first question you ask yourself in the morning, and every subsequent question during the day, is answered for you when you have goals. Why am I getting up? What am I going to do first? What is the order and attitude of the day going to be? Why does it matter?
Goals infuse your life with purpose and meaning, giving you the knowledge that you’re on the right path to the attainment of your biggest ideals.
#3 Goals challenge you to grow
Goals are an enabler for personal growth. They take you outside your comfort zone. I challenge you to set goals that make you feel ‘comfortably uncomfortable’, stretching the boundaries of your own possibilities and allowing you to become the best you can be.
#4 Goals drive you to take action
It’s easy to drift in life and sleepwalk through your days. If you don’t act on life, life has a habit of acting on you.
With goals fixed, you dictate the pace, the cadence and the rhythm. Whether it’s billionaires, entrepreneurs, captains of industry, elite athletes or anyone else at the top of their game, one of the primary traits of great people is that they are action oriented. They just make stuff happen. Their days are consumed with thinking about their biggest, boldest goals, and a relentless drive to take daily actions that turn them into reality.
#5 Goals allow you to keep score
What’s the difference between Lewis Hamilton achieving pole position in a Formula One race and ending up on the second row of the grid? Or Usain Bolt winning Olympic gold in the 100-metre race rather than coming second, or even fifth? It’s often no more than one-tenth of a second.
In sport and in life, tiny fractions of time or distance make the difference between a medal and no medal. Achieving success is often about zeroing in and managing those tiny fractions, hunting out places where you can make marginal gains. To put it simply: people who keep records break records.
In life, you’ve got to keep score. It enables you to measure the distance between your position today and the point at which you began.
These quantifiable milestones will build momentum and continue to motivate you towards your end game.
#6 Goals allow you to replicate your successes
A success formula that is replicable will allow you to deliver predictable, repeatable, sustainable results every time. The moment you raise your conscious awareness of it, you can start replicating it in other areas of your life for accelerated success.
#7 Goals offer inspiration
Goals breathe life into your days. We all have days when we wake up a little groggy, where everything feels like the movie Groundhog Day, and when our enthusiasm and motivation just haven’t kicked in yet. But the moment you switch your attention to your personal ‘why’, your definition of success, your goals, you press an ignition switch that sparks you into action.
The very act of articulating your goals on a crisp white piece of paper causes you to step into a whole new world of possibility for what your life can become.
As Mark Twain noted: ‘If everyone was satisfied with themselves there would be no heroes.’
Even stacking all the benefits and creating the ‘why’ for goal setting fills me with nervous excitement, pricks my conscious mind and ignites my energy levels to make my own goals happen. And that’s even before we’ve covered the ‘what’ and the ‘how’.
It’s not the attainment of your goal that’s the critical part … it’s what and who you become on the journey.
So often, I hear people making statements like: ‘I’ll be happy when I am rich’ or ‘I’ll make a change when spring comes around.’
It’s always someday, someday, someday.
Don’t fall into this trap. Make sure you squeeze the enjoyment out of every second, every minute, every hour and every day of your life, and that you’re not banking up your happiness for some day.
Most of your life is spent in pursuit of your goals. The attainment of the actual goal for most is only a fleeting moment in time, before you recalibrate and set other goals and catapult yourself forward into the next exciting chapter of your personal growth journey.
Goal setting is the tool, the process and the discipline to turn your dreams, vision and aspirations into reality!