It’s that time of year when we look ahead to the upcoming year and try to envision how we would like things to be different from last year. I enjoy setting goals and making resolutions every year (it’s the “being intentional” part in meeting them that Mike was talking about that I struggle with.) But making those resolutions gives me a sense of bringing closure to last year’s discouragements and disappointments and restores hope and optimism for the opportunities ahead.
I was listening to Brian Tracy today (he of the motivational speaker self-improvement & goals gurus) and he was talking about the steps to effective goal-setting: you know, the basics, like figuring out what you want to accomplish, writing it down in specific measurable terms, assigning a deadline to it, etc. I think we all know those basics, but the one memory-refresher that stood out to me was his answer to the question that he gets asked frequently, which is “what do I do if I don’t achieve my goal by the deadline I’ve set for it?” He chuckled a bit as he gave his answer: “Just set a new deadline.” He continued, “Because there is no such thing as an unrealistic goal, only unrealistic deadlines.”
How freeing is that? For me, it really minimizes the failure/intimidation factor that can creep in on setting goals. Reframing a missed goal from a feeling of failure to one of resetting the deadline and continuing on its pursuit is encouraging. In addition, it opens up the mind to the unlimited potential of setting goals for anything. Want to read through the Bible in a month? Go for it! Want to increase your income by 50% this year? Do it! Regardless of the goal, the point is to set it. We can all read through the Bible. Some people could do it in a month while others may need two years (insert raised hand). We could all increase our income by 50% if we wanted to, but could we all do it by the end of this year? Probably not. Having said that, how much closer would you be to ANY goal if you set it and started toward it, regardless of the deadline? I think all would agree that if we didn’t hit the deadline, we would be a lot closer to achieving the goal than if we had never set the deadline in the first place.