Goals and Change
It’s the end of the year, and I get it: You’re busy. December is often the most hectic month of the year for people, at least on a personal level. Holidays, family obligations and wrapping up your year in the shop—there isn’t a whole lot of time for quiet reflection.
But let’s make some. It’s almost 2019 … what are your goals?
Don’t say them yet, but hopefully your mind starts swirling with ideas. Goals are important and mandatory in every single person’s life. A goal is something that puts your focus in alignment with your desires and the (most recent) fire that burns inside you. Goals cause you to think in a forward way of what’s going right and what’s going wrong for you right now.
Goals allow you to design your perfect life.
Each December, my wife and I sit at the kitchen table and talk about what we want to accomplish the next year. And this goes for our family, our children, our home, our business; it’s all intertwined. Our goal for that kitchen table meeting is to set new goals that will change our lives in the way that we want our lives to go.
I feel like I should repeat that last part in a broader way: Goals need to change your lives in the way you want them to change.
Too many of us don’t set goals and then things happen to us that cause negative situations to materialize, and that’s often such a traumatizing experience that we give up and don’t keep fighting in the direction we want our businesses, our lives to go. After all, we couldn’t have done anything about it, right? Well, that line of thinking is completely wrong.
We can always do something about it.
People who don’t have measurable goals in their lives are submitting themselves to someone else’s measurable goals. I really want you to understand that last point. If you don’t have measurable goals for yourself, you are not in charge of your own life. Someone else is. Other people are not setting their own goals for your benefit. Sure, sometimes you might go along for the ride and succeed, but you did so on someone else’s terms, along someone else’s plan. People have their own goals for themselves; they plan for them, as they should. You have to fight back and do what’s best for you and your family. You have to set your own goals.
Now, your goals can’t always change how something works, necessarily. Some things are what they are or are beyond our control, but we can set goals that allow us to benefit more from those situations, we can figure out a path to thrive under those circumstances. Other goals, you can absolutely change how things work. Overall, we have to be in the mindset to attack things strategically so that we can reach that next level.
And it starts with writing it down. I don’t care if you put your goals on a piece of paper, you chisel them into stone or you use a woodburner on a piece of plywood; just make sure you physically write down your goals.
I have mine on a homemade whiteboard in my closet, and I look at it every single morning as I get dressed. Each year, I probably have between eight and 12 goals written on there—along with some photos taped up of people I’d like to emulate in my life. You can’t do anything more than you can do, so everything always starts with improving yourself.
I listened to a speaker several years ago who talked about long-term goals. He asked the crowd to picture where they want to be in 25 years. Then explained that if you took each year and divided it into four quarters, that would give you 100 quarters to reach that goal. Think of each quarter as 1 percentage point closer to your goal, he explained, and chip away each quarter. Now, thinking of it that way, do you think you can get there in 25 years? (Hint: The answer is, “Of course!”)
Change is hard and change is scary. Often, it requires you to get out of your comfort zone, to do something different, and to do that new thing over and over and over until it becomes ingrained as habit; it becomes your new normal. That’s when you reach a new level—and get to set all new goals.
Goals are incredibly powerful. They keep you from getting stuck inside someone else’s plans. If you do one thing in the new year, please let it be taking control of your future. You can start today. You can start right now. Take out a piece of paper and write down your goals. It’s almost 2019. What are you going to do to make your life better?