There are two big mistakes people often make when it comes to setting goals. They either don’t aim for anything at all or they let past failures keep them from aiming higher than they should. Sadly, I believe past failure keeps a lot of people from even attempting to set goals. Unfortunately, “if you aim at nothing“, as Zig Ziglar says, “you will hit it every time“.
What Are You Aiming For?
While some people let past failures keep them from setting new goals at all, there are others who treat goals more like making a birthday wish or buying a lottery ticket. Their hope ends with their fleeting thought.
Look, I get it. Sometimes it can seem overwhelming to think of where you want to be compared to where you are. In fact, we may be so scared of disappointment, we don’t even want to dream big. Interestingly enough, a lot of people think they fail because they set too high of goals. Maybe that is what has scared them away from setting new goals. However, I think most people fail because they set their standards too low or they give up entirely.
If you can trust me and muster up the energy to give goal-setting a try again, let me walk you through three things to think about.
1. Look Ahead
“Life, like sports, should have a goal. Otherwise, how do you know what direction to go or how to get ahead?”
The first step to reaching a goal is looking ahead. Just like darts, you have to know where your target is. What is your bullseye? Start by asking the question “what do you want to achieve if you were guaranteed results?” This will take fear and doubt out of the equation. Next, write your answer down. Based on your answer, set short-term and long-term goals. The New Year is always the most common time to go through this process but you can make a habit of doing this at the beginning of each month or even each week if you are really serious.
“You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a daily basis”Dr. Gail Matthews, psychology professor at Dominican University of California
2. Look Back
The next step is looking back. Every New Year, we tend to naturally reflect back on the prior year and think about what we want to do differently. How can you improve? Instead of just focusing on your prior decisions or circumstances, think about ways you can improve your mindset, your actions and your reactions? Self-examination is not only necessary for improvement but it’s healthy. Without actively looking for ways to improve and grow, we become complacent – and complacency is a goal-killer.
“Let us test and examine our ways” – Lamentations 3:40
3. Look Now
Once you have looked ahead at your goals and looked back at what you may need to change, you also have to look at where you are right now because that changes daily. There really are no days off when it comes to achieving and securing goals.
Even if you reach your goal, you have to keep striving to maintain it. Whether you are working on a good marriage or good health, if you think you can just coast – think again. One of my favorite teachers and authors, Rick Warren, said “you only coast downhill”. Continual self-examination is a great way to prevent complacency and keep you on track.
“A person can aim high & hit low, but he never hits high if he aims low”.
As you look at creating new goals this go around, commit to aiming higher than you ever have before. Don’t be afraid of failure (read this blog). In fact, be ready for it. Lastly, commit to regular self-exams and refuse to ever become complacent. Goals are never met by luck and wishes. They require good planning and hard work, but the reward is so great!
Scripture of the Day
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. – Proverbs 21:5
Mantra of the Day:
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time“. – Zig Ziglar