When you consider setting goals in your life, you are much like the captain of a ship. You have the vast area of the sea of your life before you. You have the ship of your abilities, potentials and desires to carry you to your destination your purpose or goal-target. A captain considering a navigational chart knows there are many routes to his destination. It is his prerogative to choose which he will travel, then to plot the course, moving from port to port until his voyage is completed. Just as the captain charts his course to a planned destination, you also determine the direction of your life by the goals you choose.
Goals should be realistic and attainable.
The difficulty of a goal is not a deterring factor as long as the goal is practical. Choose goals that are in the realm of the attainable for YOU.
Goals should be concrete and measurable.
The success of any expedition depends on the knowledge and provision of exact amounts of supplies, miles and method of travel and intermediate destinations along the route. These are definite, measurable substances that can be calculated and achieved while contemplating the over-all magnitude of an extended journey into regions not traveled before. You should actually be able to plan the methods of accomplishment in detail for the goals on your route, aiming toward a definite result. Then, in retrospect, you will be able to say, "This is what I did, this is how I did it."
Goals should be extended to cover a given timetable.
The captain has predetermined his scheduled time of arrival at each port. In planning your goals, schedule a timetable for the completion of each one. This will keep you moving and prevent being "becalmed" by periods of inactivity. A time schedule will help you use your time wisely and assure a proper time allotment to each "goal-sectioned" leg of your journey.
Goals should be flexible and changeable.
Whether we are sailing the ocean to a distant city or advancing on the thoroughfare of life, we are not always able to control the environment around us. Unforeseen winds and currents may cause turbulence and heavy seas that oppose our progress. Because our schedule has been temporarily thwarted,we should not give up in defeat and abandon our plans. There are many routes that ultimately arrive at the same objective. If you cannot continue your journey on your present route, choose an alternate one! Flexible goals will enable you to always keep moving toward your goal-target.
Goals should be set in advance.
There is no substitute for planning! The practice of "planning your work and then working your plan" is a proven theorem of action. Many people spend more time planning a vacation than they do planning their lives. Know your goal-target, plan each stage of your journey before you begin and your reward will be continual progress and the satisfaction and elation of achievement. Goals should be committed to the end result without looking back. Farmers know that they cannot "put their hand to the plow and look back" and plow a straight furrow. High wire performers know the only way to successfully complete their hazardous walk on the thin life-line of their profession is to keep their eyes on their destination and not look back.
Whether the path you have chosen to your final goal is as precarious as that of a high wire performer or on the solid ground of a tiller of the soil, the criteria for successfully reaching your destination is to keep your feet moving forward on your mission and never lose sight of that which you are traveling toward. To achieve greatness, do not take your eyes off worthwhile goals.
In the daily currents of life as you move from goal to goal, remember always to practice the 'do's' in life. "Don'ts" seem to present themselves in such a way that they are easier to find, and even more so, to practice! By drawing the full measure of meaning out of each positive element in your life you automatically eliminate the negative overpowering of the 'don'ts'.