Focal Point – The Promise 2: Goals

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4 (NIV)

The Wisdom Compass by Theodore HendersonIf you have read any of my writings on biblical principal and scripture you know that I often advise you to pray and meditate on the “Word”.  However you should pray and meditate on everything of importance in your life including your personal and financial success.  Don’t be mislead by religious arguments about “prosperity gospel” and poverty somehow automatically making you holy.  Understanding that your Creator encourages you to be the best you can be and scripture teaches and reinforces this.  

However the difference between looking at God as an intergalactic ATM and praying for success both as a way to have a better life and honor your faith is the serious intent.  By serious intent I’m speaking of your goals and the pursuit of them. Are they in writing?  Do you pray and meditate daily, or at least regularly, on your goals?  Do they represent your good character and integrity? Do you regularly seek out true scriptural reinforcement?  Do you take regular real action in their pursuit?  If not can you really be serious about pursuing success? 

If you are goals are moving along towards fruition then congratulations. If they are not moving then it is time to properly identify the obstruction(s).  You should list your 3 to 5 most important goals, such as, go to college, find a suitable spouse, get a better paying job, pursue your true vocation, etc.  Having done that list the major obstacles that you feel are preventing them from progressing.  If your mental state or outlook is an obstacle then list it.  Honesty is necessary for forward movement. 

In the book What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, Mark McCormack describes a study conducted on students in the 1979 Harvard MBA program. For purposes of study that year the students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans; 13 percent had goals, but they were not in writing; and a massive 84 percent had no specific goals in writing or otherwise!  This is at the Harvard Business School so its easy to imagine how so many in the general population are frustrated with their lack of success. 

In my book The Wisdom Compass“, now available on Amazon, I explain how to go about setting quality realistic goals and also share how I how set a goal to write the book within a certain timeframe and met my goal. 

The author Brian Tracy in his book “Goals!” explains the SMART approach to goal setting.  SMART means the goal must be:  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-certain. Unless a goal meets each of those criteria do not consider it to be a valid goal. 

He gives the following examples of true written goal setting. He contrasts some common “goals” people aspire to with the SMART goal alternative. Why are the SMART goals better? What’s “wrong” with the common “goals” most people set for themselves?  See for yourself.

Common “goal”: To lose 10 pounds in two weeks.

SMART goal: I walk one mile every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and I weigh 175 on November 30.

Common “goal”: To make more money.

SMART goal: I have increased my income every month this year and am earning $250,000 per year on December 31, 2011 

Common “goal”: To get published in a magazine.

SMART goal: I send a targeted query letter pitching article ideas to Redbook magazine every week.

You are probably thinking this is way too much work and time.  Guess what? You’re right. it will take time and some real thought. That’s why such a large percentage of Americans have no written goals.

You can either drift through life or you can have direction through life by taking the time to think through where your Creator wants you to be. The choice is simple a life discipline or a lifetime of regrets.

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