Goal setting is a subject that’s easy to write about, but it is something that can be very difficult to do in reality. Oh, it’s easy enough to identify goals; it’s just hard to create a plan to successfully accomplish them. Perhaps the least successful ones are those made as New Year’s resolutions…so I never make those!
I believe the most successful goals are those that arise out of uncomfortable circumstances. If a person is miserable enough, a goal to never face that circumstance again becomes a driving force that can shape a life. I had that experience in my childhood home of St. Louis. Every spring, I would look out at our city’s grey skies, traffic-clogged streets, and never-ending concrete sidewalks, and long to be somewhere that had blue skies, grass covered fields, and trees! That is why I love Oklahoma so much! I love these open spaces, beautiful big skies, and of course, lots of rolling hills, fields and trees! When I left for college at seventeen, I told my family, “I’ll never move back here again.”
The hardest part of teaching students to set goals is getting the goal to be an achievable one. It’s like choosing a topic for a research project. Too often, the chosen topic is too large to cover in depth. So, I help them to isolate a single part of the huge topic and to focus on that one aspect. It is the same in setting the first goal: make it simple and fairly easy to accomplish. Then, proceed in the same way you would eat an elephant…one bite at a time! Once the beginning small goals are met, it is easier to plan strategies for the next goals, and on it goes.
When I set a goal, I usually accomplish it. I guess it comes from years of practice. It may also stem from the fact that I would rather die than not fulfill a promise I make to someone. Another reason I seem to be successful at setting goals and meeting them is the Bible promises that direct me to lean upon God. “Trust in God and lean not unto your own understanding, and He will direct your paths.” I also believe Psalm 139 which tells me God had a plan for my life while I was in my mother’s womb. It has been a marvelous experience to watch as God has led people and events into my daily walk which have been part of the process of meeting His goal for my life during these past 72 years.