Why you need to set goals

A speech delivered to Mosman Toastmasters in 1989
chesirecat
Do you remember Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?

Do you remember her conversation with the Cheshire Cat? Alice was lost and asked…

“Cheshire Puss.. .would you tell me please which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to”, said the cat.

“I don’t much care where”, said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go”, replied the cat.

I want to encourage you all to define your goals and set out to achieve them, so that you get what you want out of life. Remember the words of the Cheshire Cat — If you don’t know where you want to go, you could end up anywhere! Given enough time, you’ll achieve certain things in life, but will they be the things that you really want for yourself?

Why should we be concerned about goals? Let’s face it – we are a young group and there seems to be an enormous amount of time ahead of us to do the things we desire. Why don’t we tackle the hard things next year and enjoy ourselves now?

Well my friends, it is important that we start working on our goals now and not waiting until next year.

I would like to give you an example. I have a large library at home filled with many books about subjects of interest to me. However I was accumulating them faster that reading them and it wasn’t until I made a complete stocktake that I discovered I had over 400 books that were unread.

When would I ever read 400 books!

This is where goal setting comes in. I set myself the goal of reading one book a week for the next eight years which would complete the task. That sounds overambitious however this year I have read over 50 books, but not all of them were from my library. I was distracted by reading other books borrowed during the year, but the important thing is I have designed a plan to read my library and reap the benefits. Have you heard the Chinese proverb – A thousand mile journey starts with one step.

Many people fail to achieve their goals because they never really set them in the first place. So if you set goals, and more importantly the right goals, you can expect success.

So you must plan your life and define your goals and this is how you start. Buy an exercise book and call it your goals book. Now start listing everything you’ve ever wanted in your life but haven’t achieved yet, and the things you’d like to do, to see, to have or to become. Carry this book with you every day and keep on adding to the list.

It is important to have a balanced set of goals and you should consider all areas of your life. Consider your health, your mind, your money, your job, your family and your friends, and your spiritual life.

The next step is to pick out a goal that you consider most important and create an action plan to achieve this goal.

On this action plan you should outline the steps necessary to achieve the goal. State the goal clearly and specifically, stating it in a positive manner and make it concrete so that you can devise specific action steps to achieve it.

List the benefits you can expect to enjoy when you have reached your goal, including the sense of satisfaction it will bring you, and maybe additional income!

In trying to achieve the goal, you can expect problems, so list expected obstacles such as time, money and resistance from others. Then devise strategies for overcoming these obstacles you have identified.

Write down all the action steps you will be taking in as much detail , as possible and set a target date. This will keep up your momentum and push you along.

And most importantly you should ask yourself if achieving this goal is worth the time, money and effort to you, and if it is then it is the right goal for you.

It is absolutely paramount to have a clearly defined goal, so that you know when you have achieved it. For example I have a goal to speak conversational Japanese. How would I know when I have achieved that goal? Is asking “where is the toilet?” sufficient? Obviously not, so I clarified my thinking and set the goal of completing a homestudy course called Lets Learn Japanese. By completing this course I knew what level of skill I could expect to achieve.

You have been given the greatest power in the world – the power to choose.

Your future will be determined largely by the goals you set.

So I urge you to work on your set of well-balanced goals and then act on them to create your own success and happiness.

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