Activating Your Why With Goal Setting

At every hour of the day, the sun breaks the horizon somewhere on the planet.  People awaken and life there gets more colorful and productive.  The same can be said for a flower you’ve probably seen or at least heard of – the morning glory.

Most morning glories unravel and fully bloom soon after sun light hits them.  As dusk approaches, they begin to curl up again, taking their vivid color with them until the next day.

In other words, they’re at their brightest in the light and retreat during the night.

When we live out our why, our purpose, and activate it with goals we are living like a morning glory at 10 a.m.  We’re bright.  Vivid. Full of life.

But unlike the sun-triggered flower, we have the option to remain that way even after the sun goes down.  Or think of it this way. We have a greater ability to live out our God-commanded purpose, leave a lasting, meaningful impact on this world, inspire others to do the same, and bounce back when life happens to us.

As I said in my last post, goals are active.  They’re moving and exciting!  And they help you strike the target, especially when they’re connected to your why.  Goals are like a cup of coffee, a run, or fun night out with friends; they activate you.  They are the key to achieving your purpose.  While I believe purpose is God-commanded, that does NOT mean God will just take care of it for us. We have to do the work.

Goal setting should encompass these categories:  Family, Social, Financial, Intellectual, Career, Physical and Spiritual.

As Zig Ziglar put it, this is the wheel of life.  Setting and accomplishing goals in all of these categories leads to a well-rounded, complete life, not one that, as author and radio show host Dave Ramsey says, has flat spots, because flat spots don’t make for a very smooth ride, do they?

The vast majority of people do not set goals.  My wife and I didn’t start doing it until 2010.  Chances are you don’t either.  As 2012 nears, now is the time to start because it’s not something you knock out in 30 minutes before you head out to party on New Year’s Eve, especially if you’re married and you’re setting shared goals. It takes time.

If you’re in fact new to goal setting, I recommend starting with annual goals and save setting longer term goals, such as the amount money you want to retire with, for a little later once you get the hang of it.

So what is a goal?  Well, what it’s not is an idea you have one day that you secure by saying, “That’s really smart.  I should do that some time.”  And that’s the end of it.  But how many times have you said something similar to that?  I sure have!

What goals are is achievable, measurable, written and viewable things you want to achieve in family, social, financial, intellectual, career, physical and spiritual categories.  Ideally, they directly feed your purpose.

For instance, for “social,” one of our annual goals is monthly dinners or brunches with friends.  Achievable?  Yes.  Measurable?  Yes.  Written?  Yes.  Viewable?  I’m looking at it right now.  And as you can see, goal setting can be simple.  Having set goals for two years now, I can tell you we wouldn’t have furthered relationships with as many friends as we have if we hadn’t made it a goal.

Sure, we may have intended to do this, but going through the process of setting the goal, writing it down and hanging it on the refrigerator where it’s visible every day was key to achieving it.  So how did it feed my why?

My personal mission statement is “to advance others through personal-growth education.”  This isn’t what I do to make money, it’s how I live my life, and there’s no other group of people I’d rather help more than friends.  That’s why personal-growth topics regularly come up in conversation.

Every time we hang out, I’m given the possibility to share even more in hopes of advancing my friend’s life.  Also, the more quality time I spend with friends, the closer we all become, opening up even more possibilities to share personal-growth education.

Goals also show you where your “wheel” is flat.  For MaryBeth and I, we set seven financial-related goals this year.  We knocked them out by spring!  On the other hand, we’ve only achieved one out of six family-related goals.

Now, granted, we’ve furthered our marriage in numerous ways this year, but the point is we procrastinate when it comes to getting a will done and taking care of some insurance matters, all very important things to do.  We’re currently surging to knock out these goals and a few others by year’s end.

This way we enter 2012 with a sense of accomplishment, forward momentum and purpose.  While quite beautiful, we have no intention of ever living like a morning glory.  We’d prefer to stay unraveled until God calls us home.

Question:  What’s keeping you from goal setting?

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7 thoughts on “Activating Your Why With Goal Setting

  1. Pingback: It’s Not Too Late To Set 2012 Goals. A 3-Step Plan To Catch You Up. « Joel Fortner's blog

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  4. I know I could become better at writing out goals. Both personally and with my wife. I have and do write our my goals and plans but should take some time to enhance/ clarify my goals.

    I really like what you said about your personal mission statement coming up in conversation. My desire is to help others become better leader’s and I’m always looking for ways to add value and help other develop.

    Great thoughts.

    • Yeah setting goals with your spouse is huge. Married people should work to grow together. I’m going to write about that soon. Regarding your personal mission statement, we clearly have a lot in common!

  5. Joel,
    I wanted to respond after reading your blog, “Don’t be like morning glories”. I just wanted to say thanks for sharing such simple, achievable actions that individuals of all walks of life can relate with.
    Troy D. Martin
    American City Bank

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