Just a thought: A family looks back to the future
It has been said that people don’t plan to fail, but they do fail to plan. As the great philosopher Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Or the father driving his family who looked over his shoulder and said, “We are lost, but we are making good time!”
In Alice in Wonderland, when Alice came upon the Cheshire Cat she asked “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” The Cat responded, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” “I don’t much care where” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
I recently heard a talk on goal setting by a man who has written down his goals for 50 years. He shared good wisdom on how life changing setting goals can be.
As we turn our calendars from 2020 to 2021, I am going to encourage each of you to take time to write down your goals for 2021 and beyond. Studies have shown that writing down a goal increases the likelihood of accomplishing it by over 40%.
Writing down any goal is important, but writing multiple goals and breaking them into categories will provide you with a better opportunity to accomplish what you need to be accomplishing.
There are eight areas in which goals might be set: spiritual, family, physical, mental, career, community, relationships, and financial.
Spiritual goals would involve your relationship with your creator. These goals may involve attending a church, reading through the Bible, or going on a mission trip.
Family goals involve relationships with your spouse, children, and parents. These goals may involve spending more family time, coaching a child’s sports team, going on a family vacation, or making sure the family gathers regularly at the dinner table.
Physical goals may involve diet, exercise, or care for your body. These goals may include setting a specific weight to lose weight to, a regular exercise routine, getting a physical, or eating better.
Mental goals involve education, attitude development, and discipline. They may involve taking a class, reading a specific number of books, or working on a healthier attitude.
Career goals may involve training and progressing in your job. Career goals may involve advancing in your job, receiving training to make you better at what you do, changing jobs to improve your quality of life, or cutting back on your work load.
Community goals may involve being active in a civic club, local organizations, or other activities that benefit others in our community. Community goals may involve joining an organization that makes a difference, volunteering for a good cause, or serving on a board that meets the needs of members of our community.
Relationship goals involve friends and social development. Relationship goals may involve planning activities with friends, having others to your home, mentoring another, or creating new relationships that benefit others and yourself.
Financial goals may involve debt reduction, retirement, or financial plans for the future. Financial goals could include paying off specific debts, saving income for a future event such as a child’s college or your retirement, or a proper investment strategy.
Goals should meet the SMAC test. They should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Compatible with you. For example, a goal that reads “lose weight” may be achievable and compatible, but it not specific or measurable. A goal that reads “lose 10 pounds a month for four months” passes the SMAC test. Other goals that would pass the SMAC test might read “visit three churches in January and then join a church by February,” “read two books a month that will expand my horizons,” or “spend every Tuesday evening at home with my family and every Thursday evening going out with my family.”
Goals can be set short term for periods such as a week or a month or long term such as a year or five years.
Goal setting takes discipline. The discipline is making time to put together your plan and then reviewing the plan in appropriate intervals to keep yourself accountable and on track. Having an accountability partner who you meet with from time to time would greatly increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.
Benjamin E. Mays, shared, “The tragedy in life is not reaching your goal, but having no goal to reach.” There are some who are afraid to set goals for fear they may not accomplish them. These people ask, what if I say I am going to do “x” and then don’t do it?
Hockey player Wayne Gretsky understood this when he said, “I miss 100% of the shots I don’t take.” A decision to not set goals assures that you won’t fail on a single goal, it also greatly decreases your likelihood of accomplishing what you need to accomplish. I would rather set ten goals and only accomplish six of them than to not set any goals and accomplish the equivalent of two goals.
This exercise is also good for us to have our children do. One summer when my children were much younger, I decided they were lounging around too much. I sat them both down at our dining room table with a preprinted sheet of paper with the eight categories discussed above and blanks after each category. I asked them to fill in each blank. I wasn’t too concerned about what they wrote in any blank, just that they moved forward to accomplish whatever they wrote down.
My challenge to you is to accomplish everything you need to be accomplishing in 2021 and beyond. Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The great thing in this world is not so much where we are but in what direction we are moving.”
I believe there are things in this world that only you can accomplish. I also believe that if you take a little time to write down your plan for the year ahead, and keep your goals handy to be reviewed, you will do greater things in the days ahead for yourself and those around you.
Don’t worry if you don’t accomplish everything you write down. If you merely accomplish a few of your goals you are ahead of the majority of the world who never started this process.
And if you ever run into a Cheshire Cat, you can tell him which way you are headed!
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202 - 0850.