The Ten Commandments of Goal Setting
You shall set big goals. When the goals you’re aiming for are lofty, then you will develop thoughts, actions, and habits to help you achieve them. This self-development will become the foundation of your success. Big goals drive change, from which emerges the need for growth.
You shall write down your goals. A wise man once said that a goal that is never written down is only a wish.
You shall set your goals as early as you can. Goddard started at 15. Start now and write your goals down. As the entrepreneur and visionary Walt Disney said, “Don’t wait another day, “A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.”
You shall break your goals down into bite-sized mini goals. Perhaps the most difficult part in setting goals is breaking them into manageable daily, weekly, and monthly bite-sized goals. For example, if one of your goals is “To be my ideal weight, have an athletic, fit body and eat food that is both nutritious and healthy,” then you must act every day, week, and month to make that a reality. Your plan may involve walking daily for forty-five minutes, lifting weights three times a week, and seeing a dietician to formulate a monthly eating plan.
You shall visualize it. Put a Sticky note on your mirror or computer screen and look at your goals everyday. Take a moment to reflect upon each of your achievable aspirations. Picture what it would be like to already be there. How does it feel, look, and smell? See yourself there and you will be.
You shall start with what you have. For example, you may have a goal of developing a retreat center for abused children. You have no money, nor even an idea of what such a project entails. Start with what you can do. On your day off, visit a real estate agent to talk about properties on the market, the size that would be required, and necessary permits. Or search the Internet for people already doing this and contact them. Or visit an established center and serve as a volunteer on your holidays. Research and learning are free.
You shall understand your personal rhythms and cycles. Everyone has natural rhythms and cycles, be they daily, weekly, or monthly. Do you know your rhythms and cycles? I recall reading about one of history’s great opera singers. She understood that to reach her goal of performing her best she needed to understand her cycles. In learning about her preparation, peak performance, and recovery she not only reached her goals but maintained them over a career spanning several decades. For example, perhaps you notice that you are most alert, intelligent, and decisive in the morning. You may also discover that early in the week you may be more analytical, but later in the week you are more creative. To achieve your goals, learn to work in harmony with such cycles.
You shall set deadlines. In order to stay on target with goals, it is important to set specific deadlines. Be certain, in setting deadlines, that you under-commit and over-deliver. Wise King Solomon once wrote, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Prov. 13:12a). If you keep promising yourself something and it never happens, eventually you will grow despondent. Instead of a positive effect in life, your goals can turn into a negative consequence.
You shall be decisive. Success is a choice. Don’t achieve your parents’, partner’s, children’s, or best friend’s goals. Decide what you want, why you want it, and how you plan to achieve it. No one else can, will, or should do that for you.
You shall just do it. Action is a powerful force. Sometimes the greatest thing I have done has been to get out of my chair and take action. Some people are waiting for a sign or a feeling. Or they are waiting until they have enough money, education, and opportunity before actin