By Art Rainer
Goals are powerful, but often overlooked, tools. Imagine you piled your family into your car for a weeklong vacation. Your spouse is excited. Your kids are excited. And about two minutes into the trip, your spouse asks, “So where are we going?” You respond, “I don’t know. I had not thought about it.” I imagine what follows is not pretty. There is no way you would embark on a weeklong vacation without knowing the destination. You would not waste your vacation driving aimlessly. And yet, we do this all the time with other areas of our lives. We embark on journeys without identified destinations, without goals.
So whether you are leading a team or are trying to right your current financial situation, let me encourage you to consider identifying your goals by giving you the value they provide:
1. Goals provide direction
Do you need to proceed east or west? It depends. Where are you trying to go? Goals help determine the path you should take. While it may not immediately provide all of your answers, it points you in the right direction. Don’t waste the journey by wandering aimlessly.
2. Goals provide answers during times of decision-making
As you strive to reach your goal, you will inevitably be faced with several decisions. Knowing your goals helps eliminate those decisions that will take you off course. If your goal is to pay off your credit card balances, you know whatever extra money you have goes toward the debts and not toward dinner at a high-end restaurant. Your goal already made the decision for you.
3. Goals provide motivation
Goals keep you motivated. It is exciting when you see movement toward the goal. It energizes and encourages you. You begin to think, “This may actually happen.”
4. Goals provide moments of celebration
What should you do when you hit one of your goals? Celebrate! Take time to acknowledge the milestone that has been reached. Accomplishing a goal should provide a clear indicator that some type of celebration is in order. And these celebrations will motivate you to reach your next goal.
5. Goals provide unification
Want a quick way to rally your team at work? Identify the goals you all need to chase after. Need a way to get you and your spouse on the same financial page? Identify your financial goals. A common goal can bring people together. It serves as a rallying cry.
Don’t waste the journey by wandering aimlessly. Make the destination clear. Identify your goals and go after them together.
Art Rainer is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and cofounder of Rainer Publishing. He is the author of several books, Raising Dad and Simple Life.