“You got to have goals.”
I grew up hearing my dad say this. It stuck with me. And now I say it on a regular basis, to others and to myself.
Like many of us, I struggle to operate without some type of goal in mind. For me, having a goal is the difference between feeling like I’m going somewhere and feeling like I’m just existing.
I sometimes hear people say that they feel like they are going nowhere. I respond by asking them about their goal. When they say they don’t have one, I talk about a possible solution—identify a goal. Goals get you going somewhere.
Most of us would never pull out of our driveway and embark on a weeklong vacation without knowing the destination. There would be too much wasted time if we did. Yet, we do just that with many other areas of our lives. We embark on a journey with no idea of where we hope to arrive.
So whether you are trying to change your current financial situation or you are leading a team, you can’t avoid goal-setting. Here’s why:
- Goals give you a direction. They give you focus. They give you the mountain you need to climb. Goals help you know what steps make sense for you and when you should be taking those steps.
- Goals provide a finish line. Perpetual wandering is exhausting and frustrating. Good goals are definite. You have either arrived or you still have a ways to go. Goals let you know when you are done, when you can celebrate. You need a line to cross. Goals provide this.
- Goals give you motivation. Marathons are painful. They are exhausting. But the thought of crossing the finish pushes marathon runners past the pain and exhaustion that come with a 26.2-mile race. Crossing the finish line motivates. Hoisting the trophy motivates. Being debt-free motivates. Goals motivate.
- Goals help you keep score. They let you know how much further you have to go. Goals let you know whether you are failing or succeeding to reach the finish line.
- Goals help make decisions. Probably the most important decision you make is to say “no” to things that distract you from your goal. Focus is a powerful tool. Goals help you stay focused and say “yes” to what helps and “no” to what hinders.
So what does a strong goal look like? They look S.M.A.R.T.:
- Relevant, and
This is a commonly used acronym to that describe the characteristics of a good goal. Organizational leaders everywhere use it. So should you. As you set your goals, it’s worth considering if they have the characteristics of a S.M.A.R.T. goal. If not, your goal may need some adjusting.
Consider this goal: My wife and I want to be consistently giving 12% of our gross (before taxes) salaries to our church within 9 months.
Specific? Yes. Measurable? Yes. Achievable? I assume so. Relevant? Yes. Time-based? Yes.
You can do this. Don’t waste this journey wandering aimlessly. Identify your goals and passionately chase after them.
“You got to have goals.”
So where are you going?