Let’s talk about goals. Do you set them? Struggle to set them? Avoid setting them? Maybe you’re like me and setting them is the easy part, and it’s the follow through that often trips you up. Or maybe you don’t even bother because there never seems to be enough time in the day for such things.
Wherever you stand on the goal-setting front, I’m here to tell you that in the last year and a half I have come to know just how important goals are. Not only do they give us direction, but they create opportunities for intentionality and produce a sense of purpose. And when we achieve them, we are rewarded with feelings of accomplishment, boosted confidence, and an increased knowledge of our capabilities, which gives us the courage to reach toward another goal.
But again, it’s that achievement part that’s tough. I struggled for years to move past setting (and failing to meet) writing goals, to frequently surpassing them. How did I do it? If you had asked me then, I would have fired off a bulleted list of self-improvement topics that look a lot like those I discussed during The ABCs of a Purposeful WIP series. Accountability, consistency, faith, etc.
As I’ve thought about it further, though, I’ve recognized my own pathway toward reaching my goals has been as simple as following the rainbow. The Rainbow of Goal Realization, that is. Last week I introduced you to the seven steps involved (employing the colors of the rainbow mnemonic device Roy G. Biv): reason, organization, yes, go, become, inspire, victory.
Today, we’re going to take that first step. Today, we are going to define our reason for wanting to achieve this particular goal. Our reason, or our WHY, will serve as an important reminder throughout this entire process. It’s the motivation that will propel us forward when we hit a roadblock, pick us up when we fall, and get us back on track when we lose our way.
To figure out your reason (if you don’t already know what it is), here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure your reason is indeed yours. Doing something because someone else wants you to or thinks you should (or even because he/she thinks you can’t) will not generally provide enough incentive to see a goal through to fruition. Goals based on someone else’s opinions or desires can create feelings of bitterness and resentment, and while those types of emotions can provide fuel for a time, they often don’t last for the long haul. So find a quiet moment or two and really listen to what that little inner, super honest voice is telling you about this goal. If your heart isn’t in it, if the desire to go after it doesn’t belong to you, it might be wise to consider a different aim.
- Transform your reason into a mission statement. This statement is really just a short sentence that identifies: what your goal is, why you want to achieve it, and what you hope to gain by achieving it.
- Write down your mission statement. We humans are forgetful creatures and we often need all the help we get can to remember what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. If you’re comfortable doing so, sharing your mission statement with others who are encouraging and supportive of your goal, will also add a level of accountability. If not, simply posting it someplace that’s private but where you will see it every day can be enough to keep it on the forefront of your mind.
As an example, I have two long-term-ish goals that I am working toward in 2020. One is personal, one is professional. My professional goal is to traditionally publish my novel. My personal goal is to simplify my life of extraneous physical and mental clutter. I have developed two separate mission statements for each goal:
I am working toward traditional publication for my novel because words are important to me and by sharing mine I hope to add joy and inspiration to the lives of those who read them.
I am removing the unnecessariness from my life because it is through simplicity that I will create space for stillness in order to hear God’s guidance for where I may be of service.
Those are my mission statements for my current goals. What is/are yours? My challenge to you this week is to take some time to figure it out. Define your reason and create your mission statement. Bravely and boldly take that first step toward realizing your goal.