18 July 2012

Gaining Control

Goal Tending
Although frowned upon on the basketball court, there is a much better place to take your goal tending skills. Perhaps the most important part of moving your life forward it to set goals for yourself. Countless books are written on the subject, with encouragement coming in all shapes and sizes. However, my experience has shown that while goal setting is certainly extremely important, goal tending is just as critical. That is where I feel most goal literature falls somewhat short and why I'm writing this today. While setting goals is a good beginning, actively reviewing them helps assess progress toward or identify the need to modify them.

So now comes the tricky part. Exactly how often should you review your goals? Obviously, reviewing them daily might lead to discouragement because it seems as if they take forever to accomplish. At the same time, only glancing at them once a year (or less) might lead you to forget them in the interim and stray off the planned paths. In actuality, a bit of both is the way to go because not all goals are created equal. For example, a goal for five years in the future won't need to be checked daily. Biannually will work for awhile, until it comes on the closer horizon. However, a goal for only a month away should definitely be checked for progress at least once a week.

An excellent tool for goal tending (and one that I can never seem to force myself to use, which might explain a lot of things) is a planner of some sort. A planner provides several built-in advantages for setting and tending to goals. First, it requires you to write them down, which is one of the crucial steps of goal setting. Then after writing them down, it also provides you a space to plan those goal tending appointments we talked about in the last paragraph. At those times, you can also write yourself notes about how progress is actually going concerning each particular goal. But more critically than just writing notes to yourself, goal tending implies an active component. In addition to just writing (lack of) progress notes, reviewing also allows you to identify any changes that you need to make to keep the goal on track and on schedule.

While anyone can get lucky, those who are actually successful are those who actively practice both setting and tending to their goals. If you want to advance your life, it is vital to get into the habit of setting and tending to your own goals. Start by identifying things you may have contemplated at an earlier time in life and write them down. Compare them to reality to see how many of those goals you've already accomplished, how many you still want to accomplish, and how many you no longer feel so strongly about. Then start setting new goals for yourself. Starting with the near-term might not be a bad idea so that you can accomplish some small ones for the psychological boost. Over time, you can get into the habit of setting, tending to, and fulfilling your goals. This can be especially important if you feel as if you have no control over their current life and stuff always "happens" to you. With order will come more order and stability. Being in control over one part of your life will help you gain control over other areas.

Goal Tending, Goal Tending Everywhere!
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