I say ”again” because I have written a blog by this title on many occasions, most often right after hunting season is over and I didn’t kill anything. Basically the theme of this blog and others with the same title is how do you manage the disappointment of unrealized goals. I know so many people who don’t set goals because they can’t manage the disappointment and pain of feeling like a failure when they come up short on their goals. Most who have stopped setting goals or have never even gotten started setting them justify it with statements like, ”I am just going to trust the Lord and see what He decides to do”, or ”that’s just not my temperament, ” or ”I don’t like the pressure that goal setting adds to my life, ” and many accurately acknowledge the fact that ”the failure to accomplish their goals makes them feel like a loser.”
Goal setting certainly isn’t a requirement in life, most people don’t set specific, measurable, written down goals for their life, so if you don’t, you are in the majority. It is much easier to just ”go with the flow, ” rather then take the time to think through what you really want to do and accomplish with your life, write them out, read them regularly, and focus most of your mental and physical energy, and resources on accomplishing them.
Goal setting is much more of a skill than it is a gift or a temperament type, and a skill is learned from those who have developed it and by practice. Though it is an option in life, it is a basic fact that those who have developed the skill of goal setting and practice it faithfully will almost always accomplish much more with their life that is meaningful and significant for them than those who don’t. Goal setters are focused, they prioritize their time, energy, and resources.
Back to the problem of failing to accomplish our goals. There are five attitudes that are important to understand and to develop if you want to keep goals from beating you up.
1. A goal is an expression of a desire of my heart, a dream, something I aspire to, not a command, or an obligation. Our flesh rebels against law, and making our goals requirements demotivates us rather than motivating us to greater accomplishments.
2. Our goals, in the way we write them, need to be relatively free of uncontrollable ingredients, that is things that I have little to no control over. My goal is to go archery hunting for a week, and to prepare well so that the chances of killing a deer and an elk is increased. If I don’t kill anything I will evaluate why, and make adjustments in my preparations next year. I will learn to get my enjoyment from the experience and the challenge, which are well within my ability to control.
3. Learn to identify the ”wins” in the pursuit of any goal, the positive elements that brought joy, peace, personal growth, enhanced relationships, excitement, renewed energy, increased skill, and a new experience, which almost always increases our wisdom.
4. Rewrite the goal for next year or the next time it is to be pursued with the adjustments that we have observed will increase the probability of accomplishing it. Nothing reinforces the spirit of goal setting like rewriting them with adjustments made with wisdom learned. It makes goal setting a journey rather than an event.
5. If the joy and enthusiasm of pursuing a specific goal is gone, drop it. There are to many noble goals to pursue to use up our time, energy, and resources on a goal that is no longer a strong desire of our heart.
Archery season isn’t over until September 27th.