We rarely have a problem setting goals. We look at our church and set some goals for the coming year or possibly we set some personal goals for ourselves at the beginning of the year. Then we come towards the end of the year and we all of sudden think about the goals we set months before and decide to make those our goals for next year. Making goals is not hard; it is the keeping and reaching of those goals that are difficult.
Zig Ziglar would ask people what day they get the most done. Their answer, “the day before I go on vacation.” Why is it this way? Because you have a clear goal and deadline and you have a great motivation, vacation.
Here are some habits that may help us reach our goals:
Reaching our goals takes time
IF we want to reach our goals then we need to set aside time to invest in the reaching of those goals. I was playing golf with a pastor a couple of years ago and he said that in the next year he was going to improve his golf game. I asked him to put some quantitative numbers to his goal and then he looked at me strangely, but finally said that he wanted to improve his golf game by an average of 3 strokes per 18 holes. I told him, now you have something to shoot for and then I saw him about nine months later and asked him how he was doing in reaching his goal. He said, “not very well I am afraid”. So, I asked him how much time he was practicing each week, if he was taking any lessons and how often he was playing. His answer was that he wasn’t practicing and he had only played twice since we talked. Reaching a goal takes time. They do not magically happen.
Reaching our goals means we will think about them consistently, asking, how are we doing?
Are we getting closer to our goal? Do we keep our goals in front of us as daily reminders or do we write them in a journal and never look at them again. If so, we will probably never reach them. If it is a church goal, then we need to discuss it in staff meetings, in business meetings, or in team meetings. If the goals are personal, then post them someplace where you will see them each and every day. I am going to confess. I set a goal during one of my yearly reviews, and after discussing it during my review I proceeded to put that paper away, never to look at it again until the next year when I was asked how I had fared in reaching my goal. I had to confess that I had failed in this area. Why? Because I never thought about it again.
Reaching our goals means that we need intermediate sub-goals
At a Foundation Board meeting a few years ago we stated that one of our five- year goals were that by 2017 we would have $4.8 million in total assets. Also, be actively involved with 35% of our total churches in Colorado. We had others, but I will stop with these two examples. Now those were fine goals, but at the time they seemed really difficult to reach, so I asked the Board to set some intermediate goals for 2013 and 2015. They didn’t seem too excited to do it, but we did set some at our next meeting. We were reaching almost all of our intermediate goals and there was real excitement about reaching our 2017 goals. Setting intermediate goals is really important, so celebrate reaching those intermediate goals.
Reaching our goals means that we will have to deal with road blocks
We will always have some road blocks. We set a goal and then something gets in the way and we throw our hands up and we just plain quit. If we do it this way then we will never, ever reach any of our goals. We need to be persistent. If our goals are important to us then we need to be willing to climb over, around or blast those road blocks out of the way. I have a grandson that is currently 4 years old, but when he was learning to crawl, he was trying to climb over a large stuffed animal to get to his favorite toy. He worked and worked at it and made it half way over. His head and hands were on one side of the stuffed animal and his feet were still on the other side. All of a sudden he stopped moving. Why? Because he had fallen asleep. When he woke up he proceeded to finish the task and reached his favorite toy and that taught me something. If I want to reach a goal that has been set I need to have the stamina to deal with the road blocks that come between my goal and where I currently reside.
The Word of God says in Proverbs 4:25, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” (NIV) If our goals are worth setting, then we need to look forward toward the reaching of those goals and gaze forward so as to not be distracted.