October is a good month, fall salmon fishing, hunting season, and my birthday! Because things seem to start this time of year I make October my beginning of the year as far as my yearly goals are concerned. I typically start writing them October 1st and have them done by October 27th which is my birthday, but because I like to have them done by the time I start teaching my leadership classes I finished them yesterday. I have 70 goals this year, and I am excited about most of them. Many of them are repeats from last year, and are basic disciplines such as my Bible reading goal and a number of my prayer goals. I have had them pretty much the same for years, and I probably would do fine without having a goal to do them, but I like to include them as I use my goals as an example for others as I teach about goal setting a lot during the year. It is a good place to grow to when your goals are done year after year until they become a habit and then move to “delight”, that is you couldn’t hardly not do them because they have become such a part of your life, your character. A lot of people fuss about goals because they want to do what they ought to do because they want to do it. That is a nice place to grow to, but it takes awhile to get there, and it probably will never happen without goals. Hebrews 6:1 has become my main personal Bible verse this year, “I will press on to maturity”. “Press on” is obviously a phrase that speaks of effort, discipline, and hard work. It is also a phrase of focus, an expression that means, “there are a lot of things happening in life , but I am zeroed in on growing in character, maturity”. I have found that goals are a great tool to create focus and intensity on what is important to us. One of the questions that I ask people as I attempt to help them grow is “was the last 12 months a time of significant personal growth for you?” Almost every response I get back is “I don’t know” which means “no”. So the next question is “what do you think it would take for the next 12 months to be a time of significant growth for you?”. Again the response is usually “I don’t know”. One more question,” would you really, really like to make the next 12 months a time of very rapid growth in character in your life?” I then offer to help them make that happen by teaching them to write personal goals and hold them accountable to do them on a weekly basis”. Some excitedly agree, but most say no. It is just to threatening. It is easier to stay in our plateaued state than to write and pursue goals.