The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. – Jim Rohn
What does that mean?
This the first half of a longer quote (which is too long for Twitter) : “The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.”
Using the longer version of the quote, I can think of so many things that this could apply to in my life. If you set a goal that you can easily achieve, that’s a step. But to me, a goal should take you beyond your comfort zone, and beyond your present skill level. It should help you grow and help you learn something new.
You can always make your goal to do the same thing you did last week (presuming you did things correctly last week). But you’ve already done that, so where’s the challenge? That is what, in my opinion, what this quote is about. Setting goals that stretch your limits, and help you become more than you presently are.
Why is growth important?
Not too many people are happy where they are at in life. Most people want something more. More spring in their step, more knowledge at their fingertips, new skills, better tools or whatever might be appropriate to their situation.
This requires growth. This growth generally doesn’t happen on it’s own. It usually requires an outside force to help us overcome our momentum (stationary has momentum). Goals are a great way to do this. If you set goals for yourself that are beyond your current ability or knowledge, growth is mandatory, right?
Think of the standard New Year’s Resolutions. How are you going to lose weight? You’ll need to get smarter on food planning (it wasn’t good enough last year, or you wouldn’t be doing it again this year). You’ll need to learn more about exercise, and find a way to make it work for you, since last time it didn’t quite go according to plan. You are already setting goals with growth built in, you just might not have thought of it in this manner.
Where can I apply this in my life?
What goals do you have that involve things that you either don’t know how to do, or you have tried and failed at? I include failures, because (at least for me) most failures aren’t from lack of effort, but lack of knowledge or skill. This gives you a clue that you need to grow, right?
I often set goals that I really don’t know how I’m going to get them done. For example, next on the to-do list for my rusty project car is to repair a badly rusted firewall and replace the area where the windshield meets the dash. In concept, you just cut out the rusty bits and weld in clean metal. In practice, it’s not that easy. I will be learning a lot this fall as I work on that goal.
If you have been reading for a while, you probably have a list of goals, projects or self-improvement ideas from a prior exercise. If not, take a moment and write a few down. Now look at the list and find a couple that are short term (a month or less). If you don’t have any that are that length, pull a chunk out of a longer project (instead of building a deck in the back yard, perhaps you could just work on the grading or the framing).
Select a short project that you don’t know everything about. Pick something where you will have to ask an expert (after finding one), learn a new skill, do some digging in the library or on the internet. Once you’ve found your project, take a few moments to list everything you can think of related to the project. Every step you need to take, every item you need to gather. Put an asterisk next to each thing you will need some help with.
Now determine how you will get the help. Do you know someone who would be more familiar with the part that’s beyond you? Can they help you or at least coach you? Can you determine where to find the missing parts, or who can fabricate them for you? Do you have any idea where you can learn the skill you will need to complete the task? Where can you find the missing information so that you understand more completely – library, internet, friends or…?
The final step in any plan is to take the first step, otherwise it’s just a fantasy. Choose one of the steps that’s fairly quick and easy, and get it done. Right now. Do it, and you build momentum. If you don’t do it, you will also build momentum (remembering that objects at rest will remain at rest).
Get started on your project and get learning, growing, improving. Start becoming what you can become, and achieve the greater goal, a better you.