I have written a book titled Maximise Potential which has everything I have learned on leadership, management, success, happiness, personal development, life, time management and few book reviews. You can download it for free here. Maximise Potential. It is a collection in one place of all the blog posts across topics over the last few years. Below is one of the chapters on goals.

The first step to understand about success is that it is not a destination but a wonderful journey that never ends. The best definition of success I have come across is by Earl Nightingale “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal/goal.” It is the process that’s actually exciting. Most of the times once we reach goals like getting the promotion or losing the weight we can’t keep up momentum but it is the process that actually keeps us energized. Once we achieve our goals we feel good for that moment but in order to keep that feeling ongoing we need to keep setting new goals. The important thing to remember is that goal setting is a lifelong activity and it does energize our lives. People talk a lot about dreams but there has to be a distinction between outrageous dreams and dreams that ignite. I can have a dream to be the greatest tennis player that ever lived but that dream is surely not going to be realized and it is very much outrageous. I think when we speak about dreams the first step we should clarify is whether it is aligned with our abilities and has a timeline associated with it. Running a marathon could be a worthwhile dream for me and something within my capability though it would require tons of training and will be a BIG stretch for me. 

Jim Collins coined the term BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) in his blockbuster book “Built to Last” 20 years back and he said a lot of the visionary companies set BHAG’s that energized the organization. I think goals for personal life can do the same for us energizing our lives and increase passion. The starting point of the success journey is to craft a personal mission statement and back that up with a powerful vision supported by purposeful action. The best example of a BHAG is “this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth”  by John F Kennedy. He made that statement on May 25th 1961 and it was still a valid BHAG even after his untimely death. It is over 50 years old but the beauty lies in its simplicity and clarity. BHAG’s cannot be vague..This just goes to show the power of a BHAG. It doesn’t matter what the BHAG is but that you have a BHAG. There is also a lot of merit in having a personal mission statement. My personal mission statement is to maximize my potential and help others maximize theirs. The action I take towards this mission is to read continuously on leadership, management, business and then share insights on what I have learned through blogs. This gets me excited to read books that are tough and that I may not read normally. Another thing that is important to set is have a core set of values that you can live by. Values could be dedication, integrity, honesty, passion,….Again writing down a personal mission statement and clarifying our values will surely add purpose to our lives.

It is important to remember that goals are not resolutions. Once a new year starts most people start setting resolutions like Iam going to stop eating sugar, Iam going to lose weight, etc. Personally I don’t set resolutions as I feel having goals with a burning desire is more effective. Research has proven that most people break their resolutions within a month of setting it. This is because we keep mentioning the things we won’t do rather than the benefits it would provide. A better resolution could be “I want to be super fit so that I can be at my best all day long and feel energized throughout ultimately leading to a longer life full of energy, contribution and happiness.” As you can see this is a much more energizing message and probably can help us be on track more than resolutions. Finally with respect to maintaining our proper weight it is useful to remember that there is no quick fix. It is only daily action performed consistently over a long period of time that will produce desirable results. We have to be in it for the long haul.

Finally goals have to be in writing. As it is mentioned often “Goals not written down are merely wishes. A wish is a goal without any energy.” As Harvey Mackay says “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Setting short term goals in bursts of 90 days really sets our life on track. Backing that up with long term goals like 5 years from now and 10 years from now will set us on the path towards the journey of success with the purpose and vision required to keep us spirited throughout. I have read that all top achievers write their goals down, read/review their goals on a daily/weekly basis so that it is always in the front and center of their lives. There are two theories on sharing goals. One says that keep your goals confidential and another says sharing them will put the necessary pressure to complete them. I think financial goals, personal goals related to family should be confidential but if you have goals like “I want to exercise 5 times a week” it may be best to make that public in which case it puts more onus on you to follow through. The example of Thomas Edison is often sighted where he would call a press conference to talk about his new invention/innovative breakthrough long before it was ready and then go to work to make that a reality..This puts pressure on him to deliver and he did deliver BIG TIME indeed.

We can feel satisfied once we reach our goals but the only way we can truly stay happy/excited is to keep setting more goals that stretch us and the process of setting goals and proceeding on the journey of success provides the real meaning to life. Finally we will encounter problems along the way on our journey. The way to overcome that is to go back to our mission, vision and values. Another trick I came across recently is to ask the 10/10/10 question. Will this matter 10 minutes from now, Will this matter 10 months from now, Will this matter 10 years from now? This really clarifies what is truly important to us. Think BIG, Burn your boats, Set BHAG’S, take action and go forward confidently in the direction of your dreams. I wish you a fun filled, happy, exciting goal oriented success journey that never ends.

Thanks for reading this post. Here is the link and you can download it for free here. Maximise Potential. I would love to hear your feedback.

The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.