“A goal properly set is half way reached“, so said Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. Why is goal–setting so important? Imagine two teams playing on a football field having no goal posts. The players are busy kicking the football around, aimlessly, in all directions, not really knowing the direction in which to concentrate their energies. This goes on for some time and then the players leave the field exhausted without any sense of achievement. Why do the players feel that they have achieved nothing? It is because the players were playing without a goal or purpose. Likewise, Life is also a play field and to play the game well, we need ‘goal posts’ or Goals, to focus on. Otherwise, we may spend our lives, running up and down, kicking the ball here and there, like the players in this example and yet, never score a goal. To identify goals that inspire and challenge us, we need to find out what we want to be and what we like to do. For this, we need to ask ourselves: What we value most and why?, What is most important to us?, What is it that we have always wanted?, What is it that gives us joy and happiness?, What is it that we spend most time wishing for? and What is it that we regret most? Whilst going through this process of identification and setting ourselves the goals, we must also keep in mind that the goals so set, eventually lead us to Excellence and Fulfillment. Care must be taken to ensure that we set for ourselves Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound, in short, SMART GOALS, as they provide us the milestones to monitor our progress when we are moving towards them. Research has indicated that inspiring and challenging goals lead us to higher performance. Besides, goals provide us focus, coping abilities to handle situations and make us work harder and with persistence.
There is a saying that ‘you can take a horse to the water but you cannot make it drink’. Similarly, the motivation to achieve an inspiring goal needs to come from within. It cannot be imposed from outside.
Let me give you an example of Mark Joseph Inglis, a 52 years’ old New Zealander. The story of Mark goes something like this…. When Mark was 23 years of age, he was attempting to climb Mount Cook, the highest peak of New Zealand. He was caught in a blizzard, which forced him to stay in a cave for 14 days. He was later rescued but both his legs were severely frost-bitten and had to be amputated below the knees. This handicap, however, did not deter him to scale the peak of Mount Cook when he was 43 years old. Later, he set himself a goal to climb Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. He worked very hard to achieve this goal and four years after scaling Mount Cook, he scaled Mount Everest. He is the only double amputee mountaineer to have climbed Mount Everest. In an interview with The Economics Times, he said,
“Everest is so big and so tough, you have to have a critical focus or else you just won’t make it. To do it as a double amputee, you have to be three times tougher, three times smarter. I had to put up with the general public saying I couldn’t do it. But the people I climbed with all knew me. On the climb everyone saw how tough I am.”
Beside being a mountaineer, he wears many hats, that of a wine maker, entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. A keen sports man, he won a silver medal in Cycling, in the Sydney 2000 Paralympics games. In addition, he is a national hero who has been honoured with the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of his services to disabled people. He has also created a charitable trust called ‘Limbs4All‘.
So, what all does it take to achieve an inspiring and challenging goal that leads us to excellence and fulfillment? Well, it demands a burning desire backed by discipline, diligence, dedication, devotion, determination, and doggedness. Set yourself an inspiring goal and go for it! And, do enjoy whilst you are on your way to your goal; the journey towards one’s goal is as important or satisfying as achievement of the goal, if not more.
Lastly, “People with goals succeed because they know where they are going“, with these words of Earl Nightingale, an American Motivational Speaker and author, I sign off this blog post wishing you Happy Goal-Setting !!