What are you trying to make happen?
Is your goal actionable, or is it ambiguous and vague?
Do you have an empirical method for measuring daily progress?
Empirical: adjective, based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation rather than theory or pure logic.
I’ll admit that I’m on a bit of a rant today and that the perspective I’m about to share may be nothing more than a quirky, personal preference.
But I don’t think so.
I’ve never been a big fan of what most people call “goal setting.” This isn’t because I have no goals. It’s just that I believe what most people call goals are little more than aspirations, hopes and dreams: wishful thinking.
“My goal is to be a millionaire by the time I’m thirty.”
“My goal is to run a Fortune 500 company.”
“My goal is to write a bestseller.”
I don’t consider these to be goals but outcomes, by-products, consequences.
I promise I’m not trying to rile you.
I believe every honest goal:
- has an explicit action plan embedded within it.
- can have its progress monitored and measured by observers.
- will manifest itself in daily action, even if that action is occasionally limited to just few moments; a telephone call, an email, a note written to yourself on the back of a cash register receipt during lunch and then tucked into your wallet.
My goal is to build a free wedding chapel that hosts more than 1,000 weddings a year for couples who travel to reach it from every continent on earth.”
Chapel Dulcinea hosted 960 weddings in 2014 but we have not yet had guests from Antarctica. We hosted 824 weddings in 2013.
A meaningful goal requires that you touch it each day and take action to move it forward, even if that action is microscopic. If you’re not taking action each day, you don’t have a goal. You have a delusion, a wish, a fantasy, a dream.
Student: My goal is to be a published author.
Me: Show me what you wrote yesterday.
Student: Well, I haven’t actually started writing yet, it’s just my goal.
Me: Do you really want to write, or do you want to have written? Is there a chance that what you actually want is just to have a book in print?”
Make no mistake: I am a fan and an advocate and a steady imbiber of delusions, wishes, fantasies and dreams; but these are entertainment, comfort, and the sometimes-necessary components of a healthy self-image.
But they are not goals.
Roy H. Williams
Lives, like money, are spent. What are you buying with yours? Roy H. Williams