Goals: Why it’s Important To Write Them Down When You Want To Win
Take a moment to think about yourself, your goals and where you’re heading in life. Many of us reading this blog are self-employed business owners. Being one myself, I know that many of us have read the self-help books, have listened to the motivational DVD’s and attended the seminars on how to think and grow rich. I also know that only a small percentage of us have honestly considered what our goals are let alone have taken any time to write them down.
As a motivational speaker and life coach, I have seen this often when working with individuals. Many times, individuals will come up to me and say, “I hear what you are saying, and I have my goals written down, but what you’re saying, it just doesn’t work for me.” I ask them, “Can you share your goals with me?” Most times the reply goes something like, “I want to retire comfortably,” “I want to have a successful business year,” or “I want to be happy.” I almost never hear, “I want to retire in 2020 with an after-tax income of $65,000”, “I want to increase my sales volume by 50% during the second half of the year.” You get the idea. Even though their goals are written down they are not very specific. Goals that are not specific amount to being no more than wishful thinking.
The truth is, most of us don’t write our goals down. Be honest, they are too hard to define let alone taking the time to write them down. If it was easy, we’d all be doing it. We all want to make lots of money. We all want to retire. We all want to live a happy life ever after but, what does that all really mean? We know what we want in short term but, not so much when it comes to the big picture over the long term.
Sometimes we think we have goals. I remember the first business I started. It was a printing and photography business. It was long before computers and printers. Each set of business cards, greeting cards or invitations that we made had to be manually type set and each item was printed one at a time manually by placing and aligning the stock, pulling the lever for the press to print and releasing the lever then removing the stock. My goal was to print the Navy Day Ball tickets, the invitations and be the photographer for each year. I remember how excited I was to get the contract. But other than the Navy Day Ball work, I had not set down any other specific goals for my business except that I would be the best at it. After several years I ended the printing business, I closed my darkroom down, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I went wrong. I was the best! Why wasn’t my business booming?
It wasn’t until years later that I started to understand the value of having specific goals. Many of us believe a work goal is to finish the day’s work no matter how many hours it takes. Or we think our goal is to get a better job regardless of the sacrifices we must make. Or to have perfect kids because that makes us perfect parents. The problem is these are not real goals. They cloud our thinking and prevent us from reaching the real goals we want to achieve. When we don’t have specific goals we never get to where we want to be before we change our direction again and again.
My friend worked at a large mortgage company over in Tampa as a Senior VP. The company decided to make changes to their leadership structure, and my friend was let go. I remember asking him what he thought happened. He said, “I don’t know. I always worked so hard for them.” He said, “I was working 80-hour weeks for them.” I asked him, “Have you set any personal or professional goals for yourself?” He told me, “My goals remain the same; to have highest production and to do whatever it took to get there.” I asked, “Did you enjoy working where you were?” His response was, “Not really but it was a pay check.” Since leaving the company my friend now works from home 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. I recently spoke with him and asked the same questions. His answers were almost identical to the first time. I asked again, “Are you happy?” His reply was, “It pays the bills.” I asked him, “What goals have you set for yourself to get through this?” His response was, “My only goal is to pay the bills.” I thought, how unfortunate.
Achieving false goals never provides the satisfaction we are looking for in life. I realized that my friend would probably never be happy unless he learned to think differently about what was holding him back. When individuals learn to think differently, they can overcome the limiting mental boundaries that hold them back. I help individuals learn to think differently, how to set goals and how to identify their true potential.
What steps are you taking to improve your personal and professional life? What goals have you set for yourself to get to where you want to be? What classes, workshops or seminars are you planning to attend? What steps are you taking to achieve your goals?