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Jim's Gems: Goals Can Be Predictors

January 6, 2014
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We’ve written about goal setting a few times in this blog which includes last week’s. However, considering it’s the start of the New Year it’s worth dedicating the year’s first blog to goal setting.

Over the years I’ve noticed that many people never bother to set goals.  Nevertheless, most of these same people desire a better job, to make more money, to travel more, etc.  They have a seemingly endless list of “wants,” but unfortunately, they have no clearly defined goals or plans to achieve their “wants.”

During my career I’ve served as mentor (formally and informally) or interviewer to hundreds of people.  Sometime during this process, I’ll ask a lot of questions but three of my favorites are: “What do you see yourself doing 5 years from now?”, “What do you want to be doing when you are ready for retirement?”, and “If you could have any job in the world, what would be the perfect job for you?”

One of my early mentors asked me those same questions which led to interesting discussions.  However, you might be surprised how many people have trouble with those questions.  Like my early mentor, I don’t mean them to be trick questions, but simply to find out how they’re thinking about the future.  Actually, I’m delighted when someone responds by saying “in five years I’d like to a quality manager” (or some other position).

Regrettably, that’s the exception, because too many people haven’t projected themselves into the future with their goals.  Not many people willingly give up control of their future, but that’s exactly what happens when we don’t set goals for ourselves. You see, without goals it isn’t possible to realistically imagine what you’ll be doing 3-5 years from now. Without goals, I don’t think anyone can even imagine the perfect job for themselves or could even imagine getting such a job.

What so many people don’t realize – and never learn – is that we all have the power to mold and design our lives to fit our desires.  You can never say we have the power to predict our future.  That power lies in our ability to choose – choosing to set goals for our lives.

The hard truth everyone must learn is that the only way to get what we want – that is, the only chance we have of reaching our destination – is by setting goals and then preparing, planning, and acting with determination.

Everything worthwhile has a price so we should understand that there is a price for setting goals. The price is the investment of a certain amount of time and effort.  However, when all is said and done, this price typically amounts to far less than the cost of frustration that comes from not setting goals.

Another hard truth is that it’s easier to win than to lose, and believe it or not that’s true. The total costs of winning (or achieving your goals) are much less than the costs of losing (not achieving your goals).  We can choose to pay the price for success – or automatically pay the price for failure.

This is another way of saying that life actually becomes easier when we have goals to strive for.  Without goals there is a greater chance for getting off course. Either we stretch and grow by our goals or by default we let life’s challenges dictate our future.

Goal setting isn’t glamorous and can be emotionally draining. However, the process can be enlightening. And therefore an exciting experience that actually gives you the ability to change your life and it mold it for success. With the start of the New Year, there is no time like the present to get started predicting a rewarding future.

 Think about it.

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