realistic goal setting

Should you . . . can you . . . set goals?

Goal setting is not rocket science nor an experience in other dimension of time and space.  It’s not about gurus or big rallies in huge coliseums with giant TV screens with images of Tony Robbins. GoldenGateBridgeGraphic_edited-1

Many people are skeptical to downright hostile about setting personal goals.  We’ve all been turned off by unrealistic claims of get rich quick and the religious belief that God wants you to be rich, just “name it and and claim it,” whatever you might like.

I want to share with you a few concepts about goals you can use.  You could be surprised that you already believe in goals and set them every day  when you take that vacation with the two dogs, three kids and grandma in the back. or have a vision with a goal of going to the refrigerator to get yourself a beer.

Here is the way you’re already using goal setting in your life:

1.  You have the vision.  First you think, sometime next week I’m going to want a beer.  You see your favorite brand in your mind and savor the taste.

2.  The vision becomes reality.  Your mind aligns what you have to do to get that beer.   It pops into your mind that you’ll want a case of beer and a few friends to help you drink it–maybe watch a football game.  Where will I get the money?  Paycheck comes on Friday.  What about that shirt you saw in the store window you want to buy?  Not this week, the money’s going to buy beer.  How will I invite some folks?  I’ll ask my partner.  Where will we do it?  My living room with the new 60 inch flat screen TV.  Saturday night at 11:00.  Party over, and goal achieved.

Why Beer and Bridges Can Only Happen in the Brain 

Neither beer nor bridges happen anywhere else but in the mind and not until there is a goal to achieve it.  Someone in the early 1900’s saw the difficulties of transportation across the San Francisco Bay and thought, “I’ll bet it’s possible to build a bridge all the way across.”  The thought became a goal.   Construction began in 1933 and there were thousands of cars crossing it by 1936.

Your Goals Can Be Beer or Bridges

Part of me wants to build–something of significance in  my life.  Another part of me just wants to get a beer from the fridge.  Then there’s part of me that is so traumatized and distracted by all thing things that are coming at me that I really don’t want to think about anything except what’s next.  One goal is I’ d like to lay down and rest.  There are huge factors in our environment an in how we see ourselves that keep us pretty much where we are.

Have Your Cake and Eat it too!  Attach Your Dream to what you Love

I somewhat understand the old saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”  It means if you do one thing, you can’t do something else.  I’ve always believed you may not be able have that cake you just ate, but what about owning a bakery where there are more cakes than you could ever possibly eat.

So don’t think about goal setting as the path to all work and no play.  One of the greatest people of the 20th Century was Ed Sullivan, who starred on his own show from 1938 to 1970.  Sullivan introduced the most significant stars the the 20th Century on the Ed Sullivan Show, including Elvis Presley and the Beatles.  Sullivan loved to party with his wife, Sylvia, and they combined their love of New York night clubs with a search for talent on the show.  They had their cake and ate it over an over again.  We need to tie our passions to our outcomes, and our energies will help us achieve our goals.

Simple Steps to Setting Goals

My wife/business partner, Carol Kallendorf and I came to Austin in the early 90’s when “live music capital of the world” was a chamber of commerce saying with little to base it in reality.  The vision became SXSW, known all over the world.  Carol and I came with little to Austin, and built Delta Associates, Inc. We works with organizations to create success through their people.  We also founded the Dream Come True Foundation, that works with high potential young people who come from poverty.

Components of the Goals

1.  Write a list of 5 – 10 things that are important for you to accomplish.  Remember less is better.  Our goals are service to others, financial, and ways we want to improve ourselves.

2.  List the skills and abilities you need to achieve these goals.  No one ever achieved anything without personal growth and training.  Do you need to go back the school?  Do you need to work with someone who will teach you skills you don’t have?  What are the personal habits you need to form or break to achieve these goals?

3.  Do a personal inventory of where you are.  What are your professional skills? What is your financial situation?  What relationships do you have with people who can advise and help you?

4.  Set aside a regular time each week to read your goals and evaluate where  you are.  As you read your goals, you’ll find yourself adjusting to the behaviors you need to succeed.  You’ll find new resources and better apply the ones you have.

Never give up on your goals.  The first person who will try to trip you up is you.  You will get push back from yourself.  You’ll hear a voice saying, “This isn’t working.  It’s silly.  Why are you doing this?”  I once heard a man say that he wrote his goals and pasted them on the bathroom mirror so he couldn’t avoid them when he shaved.  He became so uncomfortable with his goals, however, that he began to shave in the shower so as  not to have to see them or take them down.

Success is not giving up.  Keep reading your goals and you’ll begin to see them beginning to be achieved.  There is no greater pleasure than seeing your dreams achieved and serving others with the resources you discover for yourself.