The Little Red engine faced his biggest challenge, and as he climbed the hill, he encouraged himself. He repeated, “I think I can, I think I can.” Getting to the top was his goal and pure hope and determination gave him the strength to push forward. Like that engine, we will face mountains we will need to climb. Goals strengthen us because the only way to the other side is to push past challenges. I define goals as a hope for a specific outcome. It serves as motivation and a guide. Goals are to be placed as the first priority in the planning process. It is most important and should not be overlooked.
Years ago, I worked in direct sales, and controlled when and how I worked my business. I decided what I would do after I established my financial and leadership goals. I worked very hard, but I was disappointed at the end of each month. I had to ask myself, are these the wrong goals? I gave myself time, and and after a while, I began to understand the company’s sales algorithms. The top salespeople sold a certain number of units each week consistently. They encouraged us to only work on the things we could control. We can not control who would buy or what they would buy, but we could control how many people we spoke to each day. We could control how many phone calls we made each day. I began to realize that consistency in the things that I can control was my best form of accountability. It was also my favorite measure of success. Success was not based on the outcome but on my consistency as I met each challenge.
My goals changed from being result oriented and became action oriented in describing my desired outcome. For example, instead of saying I want to sell $1,000.00 in products, I say I want to sell 100 units to reach my goal of $1,000.00. In turn, I’ve changed the way I plan. My plans became task oriented and served as helpful action points in achieving the prize. For example, I can plan to speak to 10 people a day (which can make approximately 3 sales).
This example of an action oriented goal can be changed to even meet student’s needs. For example, instead of saying I want an A on my math test, I would say I want to study 2 additional hours this week to make an A on my test. My task oriented plans may include studying math facts and practicing additional problems for 30 minutes each day. Those 30 minutes do not include the normal time I take completing homework assignments. You may need 30 minutes with a tudor or a teacher, and that is to be written into the plan. These are only examples in helping you to understand goal setting and the role it plays in planning.
I conclude with words of encouragement. Life is full of the unexpected. There will be times when things do not work out. Planning does not shield us from people hurting our feelings. It does not shield us from disappointments. I have learned to have faith in God and this has produced true confidence. I believe that God blesses beyond anything my efforts alone can produce, so I include prayers as an active part of the planning process. Planning is not a perfect remedy, but God gives me perfect peace with whatever comes. “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3