It’s been said that winter is the season for setting goals and specifically for turning dreams into goals.
But to get somewhere, you must know where you are and where you are going.
Sound logical, doesn’t it? Yet, there are a lot of unhappy, unsatisfied people who have as their number one goal is just to get through the day.
They float along in their daily lives like driftwood in the river, taking whatever job falls their way, exerting the least amount of effort possible, and putting most of their focus on coffee breaks waiting for the 5 o’clock whistle and payday.
If your goal is merely to get through the day so you can spend your evening in front of the TV watching Netflix having a beer that’s probably what you will achieve in life, A list of movies you watched and a stack of beer cans…even though you may secretly dream about achieving something better.
The main reason is that you do not genuinely have goals.
So, why do we need goals in life?
1. Goals provide guidance.
Our mind can be compared to a guidance system of a missile on automatic pilot. A rocket has a self-adjusting computerized system that continuously monitored the course of its own navigation, making whatever corrections necessary to stay on target and eventually reach the aimed destination successfully.
If the missile has not been programmed correctly or if the target had been too far out of range, the rocket would have wandered erratically until its propulsion system failed or it will sell-distrust.
As a human being, we behave similarly when our mind Is targeted on a wordy goal. Once we set a goal with a conviction, our mind will continuously monitor our self-talk and our environment feedback, both positive and negative, to make the necessary adjustment along the way to hit its target.
However when the mind is programmed with expectations that are too vague, or if the set goal is beyond the range of the person, the individual is likely to wander aimlessly until he gives up in fatigue or frustration (or self-destructs with the abuse of alcohol, drugs or other sources of sensual gratification to coverup the feeling of failure).
2. Goals must be reachable
Goals should be just beyond one’s present grasp but not out of reach.
A person may dream of winning the lottery and then living happily ever after ina castle that has no problems and in which all materials needs are met without an ounce of effort or a single shed of a tear.
Such a dream is not only out of reach, but it’s also totally out of the realm of possibility when you consider what the odds of winning in the lottery are.
Don’t set a dream for yourself that can’t be put into concrete terms of an immediate goal, one that is achievable not only over a lifetime but in the next few months or years.
At the same time, aim high. Setting reachable goals may seem like a contradiction to seeking high, but it really isn’t.
If you have read the story of Jack Ma, the founder of the Chinese biggest e-commerce company, you will notice that his dream was not only to conquer the Chinese market but also to the whole world. His goal was a realistic one, yet a high one.
Perhaps the foremost challenge you’ll face as you set goals for your life is t be realistic and yet aim high.
Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that these who failed tend to err on the side of aiming low (rather than aiming at unrealistic goals).
So, set high goals for yourself! You may not reach the summit of your dream, but in aiming high, you will accomplish much more than if you aim low.
3. Goals should be motivating.
Aimless work yields little joy. In fact, aimless work is debilitating. It results in negative attitudes, poor self-esteem, and a failure mind-set.
Effort without a goal is just that: effort.
On the other hand, virtually nothing on earth can stop a person who is pursuing a goal clearly in sight.
“Good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed!” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As the Greek philosopher, Aristotle once said about his formula for success and happiness “Have a definite, clear, practical idea (a goal, an objective), then attain it by whatever means available, whatever wisdom, money, materials or methods and adjust all your means to that end.”
4. Goals can be creative.
Many people resist the idea of goal setting because they assume that it results in a formula-driven, highly uncreative life. The exact opposite can be true.
People who consider that everything will work out in the end – and therefore choose to hand loose and believe in whatever will be will be, very often lead lives that they do not create.
Setting goals is actually a more creative approach to living; it is a fashioning or creating the life you love of your choice.
It is taking your life, like a lump of clay on the potter’s wheel, and turning it into an item of beauty and utility that gives you pleasure and to others.
To set the wheel of life and not to fashion something with the clay is to send the clay splattering in every direction.
If you look around you, you will notice that most creative goals are fashioned to pass the win-win test.
The double win is when you win, and every other person around you also wins simultaneously.
When you set your goals, ask your self, what will be the effect of my realized goal on the lives of others with whom I am in a relationship?
If someone you know and love will be hurt by your reaching your goal, you should then reevaluate it.
5. Goals should be flexible.
Some people seem to resist goal setting because they believe it to be a rigid process. Not so! A goal may be likened to the rudder of a ship.
Though small and inflexible, the rudder can turn the ship in any direction that the ship’s captain chooses to go. In that, there is a great deal of flexibility.
Once you set a goal you love for your life, you can change it, adjust it, modify it or alter it. It’s your goal.
“There is a difference between a dream and a goal. A dream is a gift you want to be given. A goal is something you work to achieve.” – Brian Knapp
A goal is not a whim. It is a true, lasting, worthwhile dream taken one step further to the point that you should be willing to put numbers, places, facts, and details to it – always with an eye toward reaching the goal you’ve set.
And, If you have to ask yourself the simple question of how will I know when I am living my life dream? Your answer will dictate the specific goals connected with your dream.