I think it’s important to have goals. In his “Seven Steps to Success”, John Maxwell lists the first step as making a commitment to grow daily. With the pace of change in our lives, including new technology, if we aren’t growing, we are really moving backward. Maxwell has written that while change is inevitable, growth is optional. And to insure that you are continuing to grow, you need to establish and write down your goals.
I have work-related goals, ministry-related goals and personal growth goals. I think it’s important to strive for improvement in all areas of life. I break these goals down into:
- Daily Goals
- Short-Term Goals
- Long-Term Goals
Daily Goals My Dad is a list-maker, and that’s probably where I get it. I keep a running “Priorities” list. I review and update the list each morning, and then work from it throughout the day. I put my daily goals in order, with those that are most important that day in red. Those are the ones that are important to complete that day, and are usually associated with a “due date”. I keep the list in a Word document, while others use OneNote or Evernote. The important thing is to use something that is easy for you to update. We know that unexpected items come up throughout the day that have to be addressed. However, when I’m being really efficient, and working on those items that are most important that day, I’m working on items on the list. What do you do to focus on what is most important each day?
Short-Term Goals Some of these goals may also be listed on the “Priorities” list I mentioned above. If they are, they would be further down on the list. You may have a goal to be at a certain weight, take a class, start a blog or read a particular book by the end of the year for example. These goals should be written down, so that you are always thinking about them. Some work may need to be done now just to prepare for the goal (begin a diet/exercise plan, order the book, register for the class, etc.). How do you keep your short-term goals in mind, while striving to deliver on your daily objectives?
Long-Term Goals These are goals that are important to you, but are larger, will most likely take more time to achieve and won’t be achieved in the short-term. Common goals in this area are education related. Perhaps you would like to get your Masters Degree, or begin work on a professional certification or designation. Goals such as these will often take years to complete. However, it’s good to have them on your radar, or they will drop off. If your long-term goals seem overwhelming, you can break them down into smaller tasks. For example, if I’m wanting to go back to school, what are my plans regarding:
- finances? apply for scholarships, grants, loans or make my savings plan NOW
- scheduling my time to study? setting aside a quiet place to study?
- application/registration due dates?
Sometimes these goals could be classfied as dreams, such as writing a book. Maxwell has written that goals give us focus, but dreams give us power. Sometimes these goals are personal such as adopting a child or buying a house. In each case, you need to have the finances to make this happen. In any of these instances, Maxwell states that there are no short-cuts to a place worth going. What are some of your long-term goals and what are you doing now to prepare for them?
I was talking to some colleagues recently about being in my comfort zone, that area where you are familiar with the job and feel that you can really make a difference. Years ago I had a trusted supervisor who said that it was a bad thing to be comfortable. I didn’t like what he said at the time, but I later understood his reason for saying it. Some people lose their intensity and slack off when they get too comfortable. Maxwell states that if we are growing however, we are always going to be outside our comfort zone. Are you willing to move outside of your comfort zone to achieve your goals?
These are just a few thoughts about using goals to help us grow. Do you have goals? Why or why not? What other thoughts do you have about goals?