“Establishing goals is all right, if you don’t let them deprive you of interesting detours” (Doug Larson).
TWO EXTREMES ARE POSSIBLE CONCERNING GOALS: NOT SETTING ANY AND BEING OBSESSED WITH THEM. Both of these are counterproductive. If we don’t have any goals, we’re probably going to wander haphazardly from one activity to another. But if we’re so focused on our goals that we can’t allow ourselves an occasional diversion, that is wrong-headed also. Both of these extremes diminish the good that can come from worthy goals wisely pursued.
Generally speaking, goals are good, but we need to be reminded that not all goals are equal. To be worthy of our pursuit, our goals must be principle-based, grounded in the standards of what is right and just. And since all of us are in the process of learning these standards, our goals can always be improved. There is much wisdom in revisiting our goals now and then to make adjustments in them.
Those who have dealings with us will appreciate us for seeing the value of goals and for working to improve our goals as time goes by. Learning to be goal-oriented is a great gift we can give to others, and this is especially true when the goals have to do with the common good. Personal goals are beneficial, but we live on a higher plane when we frequently set goals with other people — and then commit ourselves to working with them to turn these goals into reality.
Every one of us has wasted some of the time that has been given to us in this world. Whether because of negligence, irresponsibility, or outright wrongdoing, we haven’t made the progress toward our goals that we should have. Nevertheless, we are not captives of our past. “What is important is not where you came from but where you are going” (Bernie Rhodes). If our goals are good ones, then committing ourselves to them will point us toward a future that is better than our past. But if that is to happen, we’re going to have to do more than say, “Well, I know I need to do better about some things.” The question is: how specific are you willing to be about that? Exactly what do you need to do better about? And by what date do you plan to have done better? It’s a fact: the goals that are powerful are those that are specific!
“Goals are dreams with deadlines” (Diana Scharf).