Set Excellent Goals
My father was raised on a farm in Kansas that had some cattle. He would often tell stories of the cattle regularly getting lost because they kept their heads down to eat the grass and their simple life consisted of moving from one patch of grass to the next. Eventually, the cows veered off the property into someone else’s territory and were completely lost. Maybe that’s why we don’t see cows in the circus – they’re not real smart. Yet, this is a perfect picture of what can happen to a well-intended life – or even a marriage that doesn’t look ahead.
Goals can keep you from drifting. I encourage you to write a script for your life that can ensure you don’t drift. In order to do this, you will need to set some realistic goals that will become a significant part of your life plan script. Goals help you get where you want to go. They provide direction and give hope for the future.
What are your goals?
So, what are your goals for your life and relationships? Have you taken the time to articulate them? Defining even general, big picture goals (e.g., “We want to have a great marriage.”) can be an important place to begin. Later you can move toward more specific goals. For example, here is what one couple wrote:
- A weekly date without the kids
- Learn something new together, like photography or dancing
- Pray together five times a week
- Join a couple’s group at church
- Create a budget and meet regularly to go over it
Reaching your goals will require perseverance and determination. Most people who have achieved great things in their lives have had as many failures as successes (if not more). Successful people set goals because they know the importance of having clear direction. How you spend your time and what you choose as goals will guide your priorities, and your priorities will play a significant role in the success of your life, marriage, and relationships. Consider these five attributes of effective goal setting as you think through your goals.
Specific – Are your goals for your life clear?
Measurable – How will I be able to track my progress?
Attainable – What might be the primary obstacles that could keep me from reaching my goals and how will in know when I have attained them?
Relevant – Why is this goal important to me and what impact will it have on my life, my marriage, my work, and my children?
Time – What is the specific date by which I hope to accomplish my goal?
The SMART goal setting questions has helped me greatly with setting goals. I used to say this phrase to my kids, “He or she who aims at nothing gets there every time!” If it’s been awhile since you have set healthy goals, maybe this can be a gentle reminder.