The Ten Stepping Stones to Setting and Achieving
By Roy Lantz
remember how, as a child, you would dreamily spend hours gazing at all
the wonders found in the holiday catalogs, wishing, hoping and
dreaming for those special delights? For most of us, those delights
remained largely within the catalog covers, but a couple of important
lessons were learned. One, dreaming, hoping and wishing are not
particularly effective means of getting what we want, and two, it sure
was fun to dream! And even
as adults, it’s great fun to dream of castles in the air, and much
more so when you begin to build foundations under them, and that’s
what goal setting is all about.
how often did the youthful you wonder what you were going to do
“when you grew up?” For many, that dream has changed a number of
times, subject to revision with each new interest we encountered.
Still others made youthful decisions to follow a certain career path
and remain committed to that decision. Others are evaluating options
and making career decisions well into maturity and adulthood. And many
never really discover the
answer to that magical question, “What do you want to be when you
grow up?” No matter where you are in your professional life, goal
setting can help.
You Can Conceive It, and If You Believe It, You Can Achieve It!
number of years ago, the renowned contemporary philosopher Earl
Nightingale offered a classic definition of success - “The
progressive realization of worthy goals.” Whether the decisions
facing you are major – like making a career change – or relatively
minor, like planning a vacation, goals will help you achieve the
success you seek. Since success is a journey, and not a destination at
which you arrive, goals become the pathway to achieving whatever you
want to be, have, or do. That
is the good news.
better news is that the pathway is built of ten clearly defined and
recognizable stepping-stones. As you are about to take the first step,
remember that goal setting is fun, and
goal achieving is even more fun!
Prepared for the First Step: Before
stepping out onto the ten stepping-stones, here are a couple
suggestions to help assure a productive journey. Your goals must be
just that – your goals.
They should be written commitments
to what you intend to be, have, or do, and they need to be specific
– “I’d like to lose some weight” does not work. “I weigh
_______ pounds by September 1st” does, because it
conforms to the definition of what we call quality goals.
QUALITY goal is: Q – quantifiable (measurable), Unconditional (not
subject to reservations), Achievable, Literal (specific), Inspiring,
Time Dated and Yours (Your goal for yourself).
Some goals – quitting smoking, losing weight, running a 10K
– become more doable when interim goals are established. Writing
goals as outcomes, rather than processes, can be effective. For
example, “Learn to speak Spanish” is not as effective as “I
converse easily in Spanish.” And remember to make them positive –
“I am a non-smoker” is more powerful than, “I don’t smoke
anymore.” Some goals will require a detailed plan to make them
happen and some will not. If “a clean basement” is a goal, it may
not be necessary to analyze all the available options to accomplish
that goal (of course, that depends on the condition of your
basement!). However, if your goal is an income goal, then in all
probability a careful analysis is in order.
was mentioned earlier that it is important to put your goal in
writing. This lends clarity and focus to its attainment. If you are
like so many others, you may not even be sure what your goals are, or
should be, and that’s perfectly fine at this stage of your journey.
Remember the holiday “Wishbook” that was alluded to earlier? Goal
setting requires a wishbook, too. This is where your journey will
start – write down anything and everything you even think you might like to be, have, or do. At this point, don’t
complicate things by recording only what makes sense. Forget quality
goals here – “First we get it down, then we get it good!”
You’ve dreamed of climbing Mt. Everest?
Go for it! – in the “Wishbook”, anyway!
all probability, you have spent more time in the past planning a
weekend trip than you have spent planning your life. Remember how
planning that trip led to positive expectations and anticipation of
good things? Magnify those feelings a thousand fold and you’ll have
an idea of the positive expectancy, energy and anticipation you’ll
experience as you step out onto the ten stepping-stones of
“A Journey of a Thousand Miles…begins
with the first step”, and so does the journey on the ten stepping
stones of the pathway to achieving your goals. You may set any number
of goals in each of the ten areas, though it is suggested that no more
than four or five in each area is a manageable number. Here are the
ten stepping-stones and a couple of example activities in each area:
Development: Read two books a month; attend seminars
toy trains; that Mont Blanc pen you’ve always wanted
Projects: Build a
ship model; clean rain gutters
Career: promotion; increased business
Attend a reunion; start a new hobby.
family activities; be a better role model.
Community: Be a
regular blood donor; volunteer
exercise program; medical check up
in Advance on Achieving Your Goals!
should be written on paper, but never chiseled in stone. Setting and
achieving goals is a life-long commitment to growth. It is not
uncommon for goals to change, to evolve, to mature. Remember, too,
that if a goal hasn’t been accomplished in the desired timeframe,
perhaps the timeframe, not the goal, requires tweaking.
to the wonderful world of goal setting. It has been said that only
about three to five percent of adult Americans have written goals for
their lives. You are about to walk with that elite group on the ten
stepping-stones to achievement. Congratulations!
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