FAILING TO PLAN IS PLANNING TO FAIL (By Janine Mick Wills)
Goal setting without a plan is like taking a cross-country trip to who-knows-where without a map or GPS. You have a slim-to-none chance of getting anywhere. You must know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. As Zig Ziglar said, “You hit what you aim at, and if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
Even Jesus agreed!
Luke 14:28-32 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
Most people kinda float aimlessly through life. They let other people and circumstances dictate what happens to them. Having a plan gives purpose and direction. At the start, it may seem overwhelming. You may need extra time in prayer and in God’s Word. But rest assured, as soon as you take that first step, the journey begins and you will never want to go back!
- Your mode of learning
- Your personality
- Your natural talents
- Your gift(s) of the Holy Spirit
- Are your goals congruent (in agreement or harmony) with God’s will for your life?
These five things are so important when setting your goals. You stand less of a chance of achieving your goals if they aren’t in agreement with them. You will be unhappy working on things that don’t mesh with who you are and what God wants for your life. From there you might lose interest and quit altogether.
Plus, you want to make sure your goals bring honor and glory to God and not yourself. Since goals are personal, it’s easy to become self-absorbed in them. You may have a goal to lose 35 pounds, but maybe that number is unrealistic and could make you vain or be harmful to your health. Maybe God would have you to only lose 25 pounds. Wrap your goals in prayer from start to finish, and you won’t go wrong!
Another thing to remember is that it’s not the destination; it’s the journey that is important. If all you’re only interested in the end result, you will miss the satisfaction of each step of your accomplishments. And remember your life is more than goal setting. Attaining your goals won’t bring happiness. Relationships bring happiness. Don’t forget the people you love when going for your dreams. You can either tramp them on the way to the top or take them with you with their blessing!
The journey is what’s important!
So, how do you decide what goals to set? There are two types of goals: long-term and short-term. It’s good to have both. Long-term goals require more planning and effort to execute. They can range from a few weeks (Get the entire house cleaned; planting the garden) to a few years (Going back to college and earning a degree; rearing the children to be responsible adults). Short-term goals usually take a day (or less) to a week to complete (Get both bathrooms cleaned; plant your flowerbed; hem that pesky pair of pants).
Make sure your short-term goals out-number your long ones, especially when you first get started. Jim Rohn says, “Short term goals are confidence builders.” They can be reached quickly and will encourage and motivate you to stick to the long-term goals.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the thought of goal setting, especially if you’re new to it. As my daddy used to say, “Ya gotta crawl before you can walk!” You will soon discover heading toward any goal, no matter the size, allows you to accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
Have a variety of goals. This will keep you interested and balanced. For example. more money, being thin, quitting a habit or starting a new one won’t matter if you don’t also work on your health and relationships. Right now, I am working on spiritual, marital, familial, and physical goals (And a few other just for spice!). I am an all-or-nothing person, so having more than one thing to work on keeps me from devoting all my time and efforts into one thing.
Next, make sure your goals are somewhere in the realm of possibility. Shoot for the moon, but don’t over shoot it. According to Brian Tracy* (I highly recommend him as a motivational speaker), “You become what you think about most of the time.” But no matter how hard Lebron James (or Lou Al Cinder for some of us Old-Timers) tries, he’s never going to ride a Triple Crown winner. And Victor Espinosa, a real Triple Crown winner, will never win an NBA championship (But he may be rich enough one day to buy a championship team!).
Also, make sure your goals are worthwhile. Aim for things you really want, so you can get excited about working on them. I know. You probably need to set goals for things you aren’t so keen on too (Possibly painting the house, cleaning that closet, losing ten pounds), but as we go along, I’ll give you pointers and tips on how to make even the mundane and not-so-fun goals easier to do. You may even find yourself enjoying them.
As you set and achieve your goals, your life will take a new direction. Your excitement and confidence will grow as you realize what you and God can do together. Since He will be foremost in your mind, you can rest assured that what you are doing is right. And you will find yourself seeking Him more for affirmation and thanking Him for your accomplishments. As you achieve your dreams, you will make new and bigger and bolder ones. Who knows where this might take you? If you’re willing to put the time and effort into it, you can do greater things for God than you ever imagined. And isn’t that why we are here in the first place!
You can do greater things for God than you ever imagined!
* You can sign up for his “12 Step Goal Setting Guide”. I used this when I started setting my goals, and it was very helpful.