Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

How Do You Define Success?

March 10, 2008

One of the things that became immediately obvious while trying to set our goals, was that we did not have a clear definition of what success meant to us.  Which is probably another reason we ended up in our financial fallout.  We had the usual culprits of fame and fortune raise their heads briefly, but was that really the way we wanted to define whether we are living a successful life?  Here are a few of the things to consider when creating your own definition of success.

What is the main objective to your life.  If it could be said that you accomplished one thing in your life, what would you have it be?  Personally, we do not think that “they made a lot of money” should be the main topic at our funerals.  If you did not have any bills, and loads of money, what would you wish to achieve in this life?

Money alone is not a worthy goal.  Most people who say they want a million dollars (or some other figure) in the bank before they can consider their life a success.  I have never heard of a case where money was the only destination.  More often than not, the desired result is something the person believes the money can provide.  Security, freedom,  conveniences, are usually the end result that is sought.

Be careful not to tie your success to a finite object or amount of money.  If you define your success as getting the newest Lamborghini  Diablo, one of two things could happen: (a)If you do not purchase the object or achieve the large bankroll in your lifetime, you may consider yourself a failure, or (b) Once you have the object, you will become complacent and think that you have “arrived.”

It is of some debate now, but this quote was at one time attributed to Emerson.  Regardless, the meaning is an awesome statement and a great way to define success:

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty,
to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

This is by far one of the best definitions of success I have ever heard.  Another great way to live a successful life: To love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your might.  To love your neighbor as you love yourself.  If we all lived that way, this would be a better world.

Finally, make sure that it is YOUR definition.  We are so bombarded by television and the media about how we should define success.  I look at these people (movie stars, singers, and so forth) and I feel sorry for them.  They have no privacy.  Many end up on drugs and alcohol.  Even though they “have it all,” many are never satisfied.  Be sure that you define what your life should be about.  Take the time to consider this carefully.  By defining what is truly wanted out of life, you may find that the eighty hours a week or more that you are working are doing nothing to get you closer to your idea of success.

Take a few minutes to think about your definition of success.  Are you currently getting closer?  Farther away?  What can you change to make your life a success as you define it? 


How to Set and Achieve Goals

February 12, 2008
One of the most liberating things that you can do is set goals and review them often. At one time I thought of goals as useless, and just more work on top of an already stretched day. Here are some simple ideas about properly setting goals, and the importance of setting goals. I will confess that we have “wondered” around rather aimlessly until recently. Here is the process that we went through.
My wife remembered seeing information in her college orientation book about goal setting. Here is a summary of the information that was included: Make your goals S-M-A-R-T. The acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
  1. Specific. It is best to be as specific as possible when setting a goal. You do not want to say “I would like to make a ton of money in 2008.” This is to vague, and has no real value. Your idea of a ton may differ from the norm. A specific goal would be as follows: “To make $30,000 from a small business endeavor by 1JAN09.” It is very detailed, as well as having a deadline.
  2. Measurable. As with the above examples, the first one givs absolutely no clue as to when the goal will be achieved. It is psychologically important for me to be able to track my progress. I am a visual learner, thus seeing a line chart or bar graph showing progress is like a shot of adrenaline for me. Make sure that your goal is measurable and the progress can be tracked.
  3. Attainable. Nothing will kill your spirits more than a sense of hopelessness. When you set unattainable goals, it does nothing more than discourage you and lead you to abandon the entire goal setting process. For example, I am completely out of shape; I would not want to set a goal of running six miles in one hour next week.
  4. Realistic. Goals must be realistic, or again, you will become discouraged. I highly advocate setting challenging goals, but do not make them impossible. If you want to set a goal that may border realistic, consider if you are able to attain the goal as well as committed to making the necessary sacrifice to achieve the objective.
  5. Timely. It is vital that you place a time frame on your goal. “I would like to visit the Rocky Mountains”, is not a timely goal. When do you want to visit the Rocky Mountains? Without a time frame there is no sense of urgency. For us, if there is not a sense of urgency we will procrastinate like crazy.
It has been stated that less than three percent of the population have written goals. I can not stress the importance of this enough. If you do not write your goals down, they will sometimes slip into the realm of dreams, which are nothing more than nice thoughts. Study after study has shown that people who write their goals down are 10 times more likely to achieve them. Would you plan a journey to somewhere you have never been without a map? Just take off in the general direction and hope for the best? As absurd as this sounds, it is how most walk through the journey of life. Writing your goals relieves your mind from trying to keep up with them. It also can make you more focused on achieving them. We like to carry ours with us so that we can review them anytime we like.
I would also like to say that setting goals does not only apply to career and finances. Try to include all areas of your life. What would you like achieve as an employee? Father? Friend? Neighbor? Church member? Spouse? Citizen? When you are faced with tough decisions, knowing what you want to secure in these “roles” can help with making some of those decisions. Will this action bring you closer to any of the goals you would like to obtain?
We were kind of forced to get things in order rather quickly after our catastrophe.
Having goals has drastically improved our productivity, along with giving us a little peace of mind.
What method do you use to set goals? How do you measure your progress?