Jim Rohn (1930-2009) was one of America’s top entrepreneurs, authors, and motivational speakers. In most of his books, you will find the word “goal.” In fact, Rohn’s overall philosophy was, If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plans, your plans will go to work on you.”
Setting goals in our lives are one of our most important duties. Setting goals will give you something to aim at, it will awaken your ambition. Since we don’t know how long any of us will live, we need to think regarding the end coming while we’re still planning and innovating. There are at least five good reasons for setting goals.
One of them is that having goals means you’ll have focused on where you want to go. What sense does it make to shoot an arrow if you have no target? Not only is this a sign of sheer perplexity, but a total waste of time and energy. Having no goal and focus means that all of you abilities, talents, and gifts are meaningless. Another reason to set goals is that it helps you measure forward progress. Without setting a goal, you won’t know if you are any closer to what you really want to accomplish in life. Why do you think books have page numbers? Why do races have fixed distances and time are kept?
Then there is the fact that having goals helps keep you locked in and undistracted, helping you to complete your task. If you know your plane leaves at 2:30 PM and you need to be there two hours ahead of time, and it takes you 30 minutes to reach the airport, you begin building a time-frame. Then you calculate an hour for checking-in, going through security, and arriving at your gate. You look at the clock, know you must leave NLT 11:00 AM to be on time, and it is 8:30 AM now, you only have 2 and a half hours to get packed and ready to go. Without setting any such goal, chances are you’ll never make in time for any flight you need to take.
Another reason for setting goals is that it helps you avoid procrastination. If we live day-to-day merely doing things on a whim or impulse and without any urgency, we will hear ourselves saying over and over, “Oh shoot! I was supposed to do so and so at such and such a time!” With no way to remind ourselves, we are like a message in a bottle, floating with the tide, never knowing when or if it will ever reach shore. Where would you be if you had such an attitude with your education, your job training, your getting to work, etc? And finally, setting goals gives you a reason for doing something.
When we were kids, every time our father would announce that we were going to grandma’s house, we were not in the car for even an hour before he heard that famous line, “Daddy, are we there yet?” None of us could figure out how far we’d have to go or how long it took to get there. Our father could have easily quieted down our anxiousness if he would have started the trip by saying, “Okay, kids, it takes three hours to get to grandma’s house. Right now the little hand on our dashboard clock is at 9, when you see it get to 12 you’ll know we’ll be near grandma’s house. That way, all of us would have had a goal by which to calculate how close we were.
King Solomon was not known as the wisest monarch in the world without a reason. In one of his Proverbs he says that if we share our goals with the Lord, He will make our plans will work out for the best.1 Then he goes on to say that people come up with a lot of plans, but the Lord will help them select the right one.2 Later Solomon says that careful planning helps you get ahead, but getting into a hurry will only make you fall further and further behind.3
Jesus knew all about setting goals and making plans. He explained it to His disciples this way: “Is there anyone planning to build a new house, who doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so they’ll know if they can complete it? If they only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, they’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at them: ‘They started something they couldn’t finish.’”
And the Apostle Paul was sure of where he came from and where he was going. He told his friends back in Philippi what his goal was. He told them that he kept moving toward the goal which God set for him. That his eyes were fixed on a crown. He wanted to win the race and get the crown of God’s call from heaven through Christ Jesus.4 So if the pastor stopped you one Sunday as you are leaving church and asked you, “Do you know where you stand in your Christian life and your walk with God,” what would your answer be? – Dr. Robert R Seyda
1 Proverbs 16:3
2 Ibid. 16:9
3 Ibid. 21:5
4 Philippians 3:14