Set a personal goal, write it down, break down the goal into do-able steps, add a completion date and you will achieve it. You will live happily ever after! Sound familiar? It should. We’ve all heard this at one time or another. And since I wanted to live happily ever after, I went through the process of writing down goals with a completion date. Some I accomplished and some I didn’t. For the goals I didn’t accomplish, I would do the process again….and again…and again. But when I saw I wasn’t accomplishing a goal again and again, I stopped writing it down, and as you expect, the goal got lost in life. To me, a goal was the “be all and the end all”. If I wasn’t “being all” then why bother. I lived like this for years.
What I didn’t realize is, although achieving a goal is important, there is more going on than meets the eye. The realization hit last year when I was reading Design Your Best Year Ever: A Proven Formula for Achieving Big Goals by Darren Hardy. In Step 1 called “Why Set Goals”, Mr. Hardy gives three reasons for setting goals, the third being “for what it makes of you.” He then quotes Jim Rohn:
The major reason for setting goals is for what it makes of you to accomplish it.
What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.
I stopped. I had never heard that before. And I had an “aha” moment. I realized, that as I went through the process of setting a goal, breaking down the goal into do-able steps with completion dates and then taking the steps, even if I didn’t achieve the goal, I had subtlety changed….for the better. I had learned to think things through thoroughly. I had learned to take action, evaluate the results and modify my actions if necessary. I had learned to think “How can this be done?” which led me to become more creative – thinking outside “the box” and more knowledgeable as I looked for solutions, alternatives and avenues of action. I have become more aware of what I was doing – a more focused person and disciplined person. I have become a more confident and self-assured person who hesitates less and less and gets out of her comfort zone faster and more often. In essence, what I saw as my weakness, an inability to achieve the “be all and end all” goal, was making me a stronger person.
I still miss the goal sometime, but now my attitude about that is different. I don’t forget about the goal like I did before. Now I looked to see what new skill I have learned. And I write down the goal, break down the goal into do-able steps, add a completion date…..again.
But this time I do it with a smile.
Question for Comment: How have you changed en route to achieving your goals?
(originally posted July 2, 2010)