After my son read my first post, “Getting the Results You Want”, he said, “So what you’re saying is that you shouldn’t set goals?”
Wow! That is not even close to what I meant. So if anyone else out there thought that was what I was saying, I apologize. Goals are important. They help you figure out where you want to go. They help you stay on a clearer path. Goals help you get things done. And best of all, when you complete a goal, you feel so good about yourself.
A goal is something for which to strive – something you’d like to accomplish. Yes, things would get done, even without goals. But goals are like the title in a recipe – goals describe what you want to accomplish, just as the title tells you what the recipe makes. You could follow the recipe and make a good product. But without the title, you’re guessing what the product might be. The title helps to prepare you mentally for what you will be making. Goals help focus your efforts.
For years now, Cochran’s Ski Club has prepared for the upcoming season with fall training. Often one of those days is spent on a hike. Fourteen years ago the hike was up Camel’s Hump, a favorite of our family. Among the group was my four-year-old son, Ryan, my six-year-old daughter, Caitlin, my sister, Lindy, her six-year-old son Robby, and myself.
After hiking 1.3 miles, we stopped for our second rest and snack. It was obvious we weren’t going to hike another 2.1 miles to the top or even to the meadow which was three tenths of a mile from the top. That was okay because we were outside on a beautiful day getting some exercise and having fun. (My goal).
The kids started talking about how cool it was going to be at the top and maybe they’d see the airplane wing. (Wreckage from an airplane crash in the forties is still visible). Lindy and I warned them that we probably wouldn’t make it to the top, but they could get started while we packed up. We’d catch up.
Lindy eventually overtook the boys and hiked with them to the top. I lagged behind, but finally caught up with Caitlin. We hiked until we got tired and cold before we turned around. I never dreamt Ryan could hike to the top of Camel’s Hump. He told me, “I knew I could do it and I did!”
When we had suggested that we probably wouldn’t make it all the way, Ryan and Robby both had set a goal that they would. They knew they had to hike faster; they were determined they were going to do it.
Without setting that goal, the boys would have continued to play, climbing boulders, picking up treasures, hiding and jumping out. Those goals would have been fine, except they really wanted to get to the top. Once they decided that, they began to truck! They were focused.
What impressed me more than anything, was how much achieving that goal meant to them. They bubbled with pride that they had hiked to the top of Camel’s Hump! Reaching a goal does indeed increase your self-worth.