Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lesson 31: Set goals.

Author's note: I am a compulsive advice-giver-always have been.  When my own son was in high school, he wasn't interested in his old man's advice so I wrote it down in the hope that he might change his mind one day.  What follows is one piece of that advice.  I trust it applies to all of us, regardless of age.

Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.
—Fitzhugh Dodson

You’re lucky to be reading this, actually. You’re about to learn about one of the great secrets to success: goals. Although goals are vital to success, most people never give them a thought. So let’s take a moment to think about them.
You set goals every day, whether you realize it or not. In its simplest form, a goal is just a decision to do something. “I’m going to get out of bed, take a shower, have breakfast, and go to work.”
There—you’ve just set four goals. In no more than a couple of hours, you will have accomplished them all. And while you’re carrying them out, you’re setting new goals. “I think I’ll stop and get gas. And when I get to work, I need to finish that thing I didn’t get to yesterday.” And so it goes, every hour of every day.
Now let’s just carry that same concept a little farther—maybe a lot farther. The kind of goals we’re talking about now are conscious, measurable, long-term goals.
When you were a full-time student, you probably saw little need for those long-term goals. As a kid, your goals were pretty much set for you by your parents, teachers, and school routine: get through the school year with good grades, have a fun summer, and go back to school the next year with the same goals. The process was so universal, simple, and repetitive that you likely gave it no thought at all.
The days of having your goals set by others are gone for good. From now on, you must set your own goals—and you need to start thinking much, much bigger than you have up to now.
Think of it as if you were taking a road trip. First, you decide where you want to go—your destination. Then you look at the various routes available and decide which one to take.
The destination is the goal. The route is your strategy for achieving the goal. It doesn’t matter what the destination is or how far away it is; once you have settled on the destination—the goal—you know you’ll eventually arrive. The actions you take between now and then will determine your success in getting there.
Decide now to be a goal setter. Your future depends on it.

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