Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.’ Bo Bennett

Over the past few weeks we’ve been working through the 5 steps of goal creating and more specifically in the last two weeks we’ve been focusing on the SMARTER process. Last week I said that we would go through the process to creating mini goals and milestones from big picture goals, but before we do that let’s finish Rule 2 of goal setting.

Charles F Kettering said ‘My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.’ For me this quote is very true, although as Babatunde Olatunji (Nigerian drummer) said ‘Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.’ Remember what Martin Luther King Jr. said about procrastination, so taking your present – your today – spend a few moments working through each of your dreams and finish converting them to your goals.

  • E = evaluated * exciting
    • ‘So if you have a dream then just believe that you can achieve it no matter what. Even when you can’t feel deep in your heart any words of encouragement, just believe in your dream and your heart will finally show you the way.’ Shuchi Gupta (Believe in Your Dreams and Yourself!)
    • I’ve heard that unless you feel that you want to breathe, sleep, eat, and dream your goal you won’t achieve it. It’s true that unless a goal is exciting and motivating it won’t be achieved. So when you think about your goal or you talk about your goal, how do you talk about it? Is it with excitement, or is it just something you feel you ought to be doing? A goal that does not fill you with excitement is a goal that will probably not be achieved. Jimmy Carter said ‘If you have a task to perform and are vitally interested in it, excited and challenged by it, then you will exert maximum energy. But in the excitement, the pain of fatigue dissipates, and the exuberance of what you hope to achieve overcomes the weariness.’ While Larry Flynt asked ‘The only question to ask yourself is, how much are you willing to sacrifice to achieve this success?’

Excitement will bypass evaluation and if it does, then you will know that you can achieve this goal – should you so select to. As with anything you select to spend your time on, you should evaluate your goal to ensure that once you have achieved it, it will provide you with the life that you have chosen to live.

  • R = recorded
    • This is especially true for all goals, but it is also useful for actions and tasks so that you know that the goal (action or task) has been achieved. The reasons are clear and defined by the study carried out by Yale University in 1953. In this study the students were asked to complete an in-depth and complex questionnaire. In this questionnaire one of the questions was ‘Have you written down your specific goals?’ 3% answered “yes”. Twenty years later these completing this research, tracked down and contacted the surviving participants. The research results showed that the original 3% who had written down their specific goals, had accumulated more material wealth than the rest of the 97% put together. Therefore it is important that you now write down your goal in a short sentence taking into account each element of the details from the SMARTER acronym above.

Looking back at my goal, how did I finally record the conversion of my dream of losing weight into a definite goal? It’s not that simple but with a little time and effort you can do it; and we will go into this in more depth when we look at Rule 3 of Goal Setting.

‘May the dreams of your past be the reality of your future’. Anon. This is really what we are now working on – your dreams from your past. In this the big picture goals are the ones that we often find the most scary – they seem so large that we may never achieve them; although I agree with Suzanne Oggenfuss who said ‘It is better to aim for the stars and hit the moon, than to aim for the trees and hit the ground.’ By aiming for the stars and having big dreams, you will be able to achieve some amazing things in your life. So whatever dreams you have or have had, that you are now looking to convert to a goal – think big!

As you will know from last week’s article in my course I define big picture goals as generally those that you will achieve in 3 to 5 years or maybe longer. In the same way as when you are approaching a mountain range, the furthest mountain always looks so far away in the distance, goals that have a timeframe of longer than 3 years appear the same – so far away and distant. It is for this reason that once you’ve defined your Big Picture goal, you should break it down into smaller goals of 3 years or less. For example, if you want to own and live in a $5m house and property and you are currently living in a house worth $½m, the first step to living in a $5m house, for example, would be to move from your current house into one worth $1m. This may take you 2 years to achieve. The next step may take another 2 years – to move from your $1m house to into a house worth $3m, and so on. Therefore this goal should be defined, but broken into a number of smaller and achievable goals, starting with the first step – your mini goal or goals, then define your milestone goal or goals – both medium and long term, and then any other big picture goals that you will need to define to ensure that you reach the goal you are working towards. This is explained in a quote made by Aldous Huxley when he said ‘every ceiling, when reached, becomes a floor, upon which one walks as a matter of course and prescriptive right.’ Each mini or milestone goal that you set becomes an achievement when you reach it and another step on your way to achieving your Big Picture goal.

Rule 3 of Goal Setting is to Write Your Goals Down.
When you write your goal or goals down you make them real and tangible. How do you feel when you start to speak about them? They truly become real and tangible. It’s important that when you are writing your goal or goals down that you write them in the Present tense, as a Positive goal, and as a Personal goal. Using words like ‘would like to’ rather than ‘am’ doesn’t give your goals the power to be achieved. The statement that you write down for each of your goals must have power. It is important – the statement that you write down for each goal must have power and it you select to use words that do not give it the power, the goal will lack the passion that you are feeling about it and as such will give you an excuse not to achieve it. Going back to my goal if I had written down ‘I would like to lose weight this year’ would not have given me the feeling that I will lose the weight. Whereas, ‘I am now losing weight’ gives you the feeling that you are achieving your goal. This second statement has passion.

Goals are visions, outcomes, objectives or expectations. Antoine de Saint-Exupery said ‘As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.’ Clearly setting your goals allows you to enable it. So let’s start:

  • Buy yourself a ‘goal book’. It can be any time or style of book – bound, loose leaf, Filofax and is the book in which you can write down all your goals. Once you’ve bought your book split it into four sections – the front section being the largest as this will record all your mini goals. The second section will record your medium milestone goals and the third section will record your long term milestone goals. The back section, often the smallest, will record all your Big Picture goals.
  • Now that you’ve got your book, working through Rule 2 and define each one of your Big Picture Goals. Once you’ve written these down in your Goal Book, write them and post them where you can see them. Although it may not suit everyone, you can put them on your mirror in the bathroom, your fridge, your computer, in your car, in your purse or wallet, in your diary, anywhere that you will see them regularly.

John M Richardson, Jr.
When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people,
those who let it happen,
those who make it happen, and
those who wonder what happened.