"To me, there is only one form of human depravity – the man without a purpose." –Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged
Why do we complicate our lives? This is a question I have been asking myself recently. Maybe it is a question you should be asking yourself. How many things in your life are needlessly stressing you out? I have been thinking back to when I was younger and how I did not have nearly as much to worry about. Back then I did not have debt, but I (and a lot of you) am making those monthly payments that are biting a large chunk out of my income. Our payments are going to houses, cars, education, and a lot of everyday stuff we use our credit cards for (don’t tell me you are paying payments on a cheeseburger by putting it on credit). Here is another question: Why do you need all of these things? Seriously ask yourself this. For instance why do you need that brand new car over a good used one; why do you need that big fancy house over the suitable smaller one? Are you able to answer these questions with more than, I like it, it is nice, just because, I deserve it (you only deserve what you have earned, but that is another post), or I don’t know? Now honestly answer these questions: do you want to impress somebody; do you want to be like everybody else and have “nice things”; are you trying to keep up with the Jonses. As Dave Ramsey would say “the Jonses are broke”. Next question: what is really important to you in your life?
This is where goal setting comes in. You need to set goals to get what you want out of life. When you go on a trip you have a goal of your final destination. If you did not set a goal to reach your destination you would end up lost and wandering aimlessly. This is how a lot of us end up. Life happens to us, we do not control our lives. Here is what you need to do: First, list out all of things that you want to accomplish in your life. It can be anything; learn to play guitar, start a multimillion dollar business, lose enough weight so that you are the same size you were in college, get out of debt, raise great children, etc. Anything you feel is important can be added to this list. Now take each of those wants and turn them into goal statements. One important thing is that your goal must be tangible, measurable, and have a time limit; not just “I want to lose weight” it needs to be I want to lose 10 lbs by August first, or I make a million dollars by age 45. Now take out a separate sheet of paper for each goal and write the goal on the top of the sheet. Now begin to list the actions you need to take to accomplish your goal. Once you have written all of your actions, number them in the order they need to be accomplished. Now order these from first to last. Finally, begin putting dates to have each of these actions completed. Some of these actions will be further in the future because they take more time to accomplish or they cannot be completed before a previous step. Finally, store these goals in a place that you can find easily and review and change them as needed. It is ok to change a goal or eliminate it because as you grow you will find some things are more important in life
By making a decision about what you want to do in your life and turning that project into smaller action steps it makes the project easier to swallow. Then by completing each action you will be stepping closer to reaching your goal. Also, by setting goals you are setting the grounds for all of your decisions in life. For instance if you are choosing between buying the Lexus or the less expensive Honda think about your goals. Is buying the more expensive car in line with the goal of sending your kids to college?
Finally, here is a link to Dan Miller’s goal setting worksheet . I recommend that you take a look at it.