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I’ve been setting goals since I was a kid—it wasn’t an option at our house. My parents would make me sit down and write out what I wanted to achieve in different areas of my life. Throughout the years, I’ve discovered that the people who win in life always have goals. I’ve met many millionaires, even billionaires, and I’ve seldom spoken with any who got to where they are without setting goals. Without goals, it’s hard to know what you’re aiming at.
All goals begin with a dream. Now it’s good to have a dream, but I meet a lot of people who have been praying about their dream for 20 years and have done nothing about it. Everybody has a great idea. But people who put their great ideas to work are the ones who end up being millionaires.
The next step for your dream is to take it from the dream stage, which is a generalized overall concept, down to a vision. Next, to determine where the finish line is, break your vision down into specific goals.
For your vision and goals to have long-term positive impact, they must include several areas of your life. You must have career goals, financial goals, spiritual goals, physical goals, intellectual goals, family goals and social goals. If you leave one of these areas out, you have what’s known as a fl at tire. Your life will be out of balance and the ride won’t be as smooth.
In order for your goals to work, they must:
Be Specific. If you are going to win, your goals have to be specific. Do not have general concepts. Break everything down and get defined. It’s not specific enough if you can’t tell it occurred.
Be Measurable. It’s easy to set measurable and quantifiable goals in areas like sales. Things that are more cultural in your life, where you’re shifting philosophy in your career or family, are a little harder to measure, but there are ways. Create a baseline and develop a process to measure where you are now and where you are going from there.
Be Yours. We are forever, in our culture, letting someone else set our goals. You cannot let someone else set your goals for you. The goals have to be your goals— not your boss’s, not your spouse’s and not the person who came before you. They’re yours and you have to have ownership in them or you won’t execute them. There is no energy in other people’s goals. There is only energy in what is inside of you.
Have a Time Limit. How much time do you have to make it happen? If you don’t set a time limit, you will not push yourself. When you have a time limit you stay focused and on track.
Be in Writing. When you write these things down, they’re dangerous. A written goal is much more powerful than a goal you simply set in your head and don’t write down to hold yourself accountable. So, be careful what you write down because there is a good chance it will happen.
Don’t get discouraged if your goals aren’t accomplished in the exact way and down to the second according to your original plan. Be sure to talk with those around you who have achieved great goals they set for themselves. Find out what they did to overcome their intimidating obstacles and what they learned throughout the process. Some flexibility is definitely needed, but as long as you are focused on the end goal and are taking proactive steps toward accomplishing it, you are an achiever and on your way to great things.
Dave Ramsey is a syndicated radio talk show host, best-selling author and the creator of EntreLeadership Master Series and EntreLeadership One Day. For more information, visit www.daveramsey.com.