When you consider setting goals in your life, you are much like the captain of a ship. You have the vast area of the sea of life before you. You have the ship of your abilities, potentials and desires to carry you to your destination – your purpose or goal-target.
A Captain considering a navigational chart knows that there are many routes to his destination. It is his prerogative to choose which path he will travel, then to plot the course, moving from port to port until his voyage is completed.
Just as the Captain charts his course to a planned destination, you also determine the direction of your life by the goals that you choose.
Goals should be realistic and attainable.
The difficulty of a goal is not the determining factor as long as the goal is practical. Choose goals that are in the realm of attainable for YOU. Goals should be concrete and measurable.
The success of any expedition depends on the knowledge and provision of exact amounts of supplies, miles and method of travel and intermediate destinations along the route. These are definite, measurable substances that can be calculated and achieved while contemplating the overall magnitude of an extended journey into regions that you have not travelled before. You should actually be able to plan the methods of accomplishment in detail for the goals on your route, aiming toward a definite result. Then, in retrospect, you will be able to say, this is what I did and this is how I did it.
Goals should be extended to cover a given timetable.
The Captain has predetermined his scheduled time of arrival at each port. In planning your goals, schedule a timetable for the completion of each one. This will keep you moving and prevent you from being becalmed by periods of inactivity. A time schedule will help you use your time wisely and assure a proper time allotment to each goal-sectioned leg of your journey.
Goals should be flexible and changeable.
Whether we are sailing the ocean to a distant city or advancing on the thoroughfare of life, we are not able to control the environment around us. Unforeseen winds and currents may cause turbulence and heavy seas that oppose our progress. Because our progress has been temporarily thwarted, we should not give up in defeat and abandon our plans. There are many routes that ultimately arrive at the same objective. If you cannot continue your journey on your present route, choose an alternate one! Flexible goals will enable you to always keep moving toward your goal-target.
Goals should be set in advance.
There is no substitute for planning. The practice of planning your work and working your plan, is a proven theorem of action. Many people spend more time planning their vacation than planning their lives. Know your goal-target, plan each stage of your journey before you begin and your reward will be continual progress and the satisfaction and elation of achievement.
If at the very outset of your journey the route is still unknown to you and every turn spells danger and fear, just remember that a motor vehicle travelling down a freeway at night. The headlights illuminate the way only a short distance, but when that distance is travelled, a little more is made clear.