Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. It all started with a bold statement about goals from my wife.
“I don’t like setting long term goals. They just lead to disappointment.”
When I heard those words come out of my wife’s mouth, my heart just sank.
So much of my own success can be attributed to goals that I’ve set throughout my life.
Back in 2010, I was working a job making $12 an hour and decided I wanted more out of work. I wanted fulfillment and money. Fulfillment was a bit hard to measure and I was still kind of young. So I set a goal to make a six-figure income and figured I’d sort out the fulfillment side of things when I got there. I won’t dive into the whole story, but fast forward to 2017 and there I was with a six-figure job offer in hand.
Or another instance this past year where I sat down after reaching the six-figure goal and decided I wanted to push myself yet again in the coming year. Let’s take a crack at hitting $10k a month in personal income.
There was no shortage of plans about how I could bridge the gap to make an extra $20k a year. I booted up the blog, signed up for some digital marketing courses, buckled down at the day job. I was ready to try whatever it took to reach the goal. Ultimately, the one that got there first was the day job, but again.. The details don’t really matter here.
Also – I set a lot of non-financial goals in my life as well, but it’s a bit easier for me to measure the financial ones. I’m working on creating more tangible goals in other areas of my life. But that’s not really the point of this post.
Goals have power when acted on and believed in.
I believe it because I’ve seen it, so when I heard my wife uttered those words, I wasn’t sure what to say.
Rather than profess the power of goal setting to her, I decided to just try to understand more about where she was coming from.
I’ve seen goals work in her life. For starters, she wanted to get the kids into a better school system and into a nicer house. We now live in the best school system in our area in a house that’s four times the size of the one we were in a few years ago.
So why all the hate on goals?
If you’re anything like her, you’ve set goals before. The big lofty kind that get you kind of excited for a minute but over time the path never seems to come into view. So you walk away and say “That didn’t work.” I’m sure everyone’s done that. I know I have.
As we chatted, I started to realize the problem she had wasn’t with goals or action. What she really needed is something that I often take for granted when I set my own goals.
What I found to be the missing component is connection to action.
Tony Robbins talks about never leaving the sight of a goal without taking some sort of action towards it’s attainment.
Sounds great, but how do I know what action to take?
Sometimes the goal is too big to see that path it’s going to take to get there. (If you can see the whole path from the get-go, you probably need bigger goals.)
So if you can’t see the whole path, then what? Look for the next step or two on the path, and take it.
This is where I think a lot of people get hung up. If they can’t see the whole path, then why start?
Action Builds Momentum
You start because action builds momentum.
When you take a step in the right direction, a new step in the path appears.
Eventually, after you’ve taken enough steps, you’ll see the entire path pretty clearly.
It’s kind of neat to look back after you’ve been taking steps for a while because in each of those situations where I’ve hit really big goals. I could never in a million years guessed that was how it was going to happen.
I’m not exactly sure where the tipping point was yesterday, but what started with a negative outlook on goal-setting turned into a spontaneous day of cooperative dreaming.
Yesterday was one of my favorite days in my life.
If you want to know more of the specifics about how we went through and spontaneously set some pretty ambitious goals for 2018, feel free to reach out and connect. You can reach me directly at [email protected] or you can go lurker style and join my newsletter by filling out the form below. In the newsletter, I share my experiences and journey into the world of corporate leadership and my continuing passion for personal development that goes along with trying to create businesses on the side.