Why You Must Have Goals


Today I was sweating. Literally. As the sweat poured down my face, I realized why goals just might save me, and that revelation may just have a major impact on your life.

A Quickened Pulse
There I was, staring in the mirror, looking at a man whose pulse was racing as he looked intently back at me. The elliptical machine in the hotel fitness center was going full bore, and I was keeping a strong focus on breathing methodically and fully.

I usually spend the first half of my workouts praying. I have a long list of things I pray about and people I pray for during that time. Just before I hit fifteen minutes and finished my prayer I had a revelation that may have a huge impact on your future.

A Methodical Approach
I’ve been praying during my workouts for a long time. I pray for the first fifteen minutes and then listen to an audiobook for the last fifteen. It’s a method I’ve been using to fit those things I consider important into my day.

As I did it today, I realized something about it that reveals a truth about human nature – a truth that can help us accomplish more, do more, and be more.

You see, on most days I finish my prayers right at fifteen minutes. Even though there is a lot of similarity in my prayers, there are other things I fit in to my daily prayer time. Yet I’m pretty consistent about when I finish praying for each of three parts.

The first part is usually done around five minutes. The second, around nine minutes. And the third at fifteen. And as you sit there wondering how I can pray while I’m exercising, let’s hold that conversation for another day so we can focus on that fifteen minute mark.

Hitting the Mark
Why is it that I hit each mark so regularly? How is it that there are so many milestones through my prayer that I hit at pretty much the same time each day? Is it because they all just happen to be timed perfectly?

Not at all. Some days, in fact, I realize I’m day dreaming and just spaced out for a couple minutes. How do I still fit those fifteen minutes so perfectly?

It’s because I have goalposts. It’s because I know where I expect to be when. It’s because I know that if I have been praying on the first section and it’s been more than five minutes I’ve probably been day dreaming at parts and need to focus.

Setting Goalposts
That’s why goals are so critical to success. The way I pray is probably different from most people. In fact, the way I pray might drive people nuts or even seem odd or even unsettling. However, it works for me, allowing me to keep focused and keep my mind from slipping away.

I think we are all built similarly when it comes to getting stuff done. Why does that fence still sit needing repair even weeks later? Why hasn’t the insurance company been called? Why haven’t we talked to that person that’s been on our mind? Because we don’t have goalposts.

Imagine if when we needed to do things, we started with goalposts in mind:

“I’ll fix that fence this weekend.”

“I’ll call the insurance company by noon.”

“I’ll text Sally right now.”

You can almost feel the work getting done. Just setting a timeline starts something in us that energizes us and moves us forward. Goalposts help us get things done.

Why Goals?
So why do you need goals? To have a visual in your mind of where you want to be. A goal is the stake in the ground where achievement is rooted.

I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times when these stakes in the ground helped keep me on target and allowed me to accomplish all that I wanted to accomplish, whether it was finishing my books on time, keeping my blogs stocked with content, creating presentation advice videos each month, completing my monthly reading goals, or any number of other achievements. Setting these goal posts – these stakes in the ground – help us to achieve the things we want to achieve.

If you want your life to be about getting things done instead of thinking of getting things done, you need goals. Then when you hit your mark, you will know where you are supposed to be.

If you would like a primer on setting goals, check out this post, or send me a note. I’d love to help.

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About the author

David is a father, speaker, blogger (obviously), and author of How to Create Amazing Presentations sharing the tools, tips, and techniques of the experts to make you an amazing presenter, 7 Steps to Better Relationships built on the stories and lessons on this blog with seven easy steps to help you maximize your interactions with the people you care about most, and The Man in the Pit to help you care for loved ones struggling with depression.

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