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Go for the Goal!


It's that time of year again. It's time to reassess and evaluate the goals we set for ourselves at the first of the year and to set goals for the new year to come.


You do set goals for yourself, don't you?


If you don't, you're drifting like a rudderless ship, tossed about by every errant wave and gust of wind. Rather, you should be navigating, setting your coarse and sailing consistently toward it.


Goals give our lives purpose and direction and help us act intentionally rather than merely reacting to everything around us. Some goals are ongoing. Some are short-term and terminal. And some are long-term.


Whenever we set goals, we should hope to achieve them, and that will require work. But, reality being what it is, we won't achieve all of our goals. That doesn't mean, however, that we shouldn't set goals for ourselves. Another reality is that we'll achieve far more if we set goals but don't achieve them all than if we never set any goals at all.


I have several categories of goals. Personal goals pertain to my religious condition (e.g., having my daily devotional time for prayer and Bible reading, journaling, and personal development). Domestic goals include all the things I want to accomplish around the house and property (e.g., lawn-care chores, such as applying fertilizer and pre-emergents; maintenance of the vehicles and mowers; and general repairs to the house). Many of the domestic goals are set for me: my honey-do list! And professional goals comprise what I hope to achieve with my writing, speaking, and marketing activities.


Every year, I achieve some of my goals in each category, but there are always some that I don't achieve. For example, one goal is to read 25-30 good books (other than those I read for my writing projects). This year, I fell a little short of that goal, reading only 22, but that's okay. After all, I was researching, writing, and finding a publisher for two full-length books this year. I also had a goal of getting 8-10 articles published, but I fell short in that realm, too, having had only five published. But, again, I was busy working on those two books, and they count for far more work and accomplishment than the 3-5 articles by which I fell short of that goal.


As I said, these are only some of the goals I had for this year. Besides these and others, I was able to accomplish things that weren't on my list of goals. For example, I started a newsletter for our local historical society and wrote the copy for three issues of it. I hadn't planned on doing that, but the pesky Covid virus hit, ending our public lecture series for which I was supposed to find speakers.


But all that is history. Now I must begin thinking of goals for 2021. Many of them will be carryovers, goals that I failed to accomplish this year. And I will also add a lot of others. I have no illusions of getting all of them checked off as done, but I know I'll achieve far more than if I had no definite goals.


How about you? Are you setting goals for the new year? You should be!


If you haven't established the goalsetting habit, give it a shot this year. You'll be amazed at how much more you'll accomplish with your writing. Here are a few hints on doing that:


1. Make your goals reasonable, achievable, measurable. As Denis Waitley wrote in The Joy of Working, "Your goal should be just out of reach, but not out of sight."


2. Whenever possible, give yourself deadlines by which you will achieve each goal.


3. Categorize and prioritize your goals.


4. Don't browbeat yourself or give up if you miss a deadline or even fail to achieve some of your goals.


Remember the words of John Maxwell: "You dreams determine your goals. Your goals map out your actions. Your actions create results. And the results bring you success."

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©2020 by Dennis L. Peterson