Goal-setting works!

Oct. 1, 1999
Goal-setting is the art that makes everything else possible. It adds aim to energy, focuses talent, and even structures time.

Goal-setting is the art that makes everything else possible. It adds aim to energy, focuses talent, and even structures time.

Michael Abernathy, DDS

Fear of failure or rejection prevents us from implementing all the things we know we should do. Knowledge is the only foundation for success, and taking action is the most difficult step. After years of school, we have been conditioned to approach new things very systematically. Every aspect had to be analyzed, tested and then - and only then - would we act. The flaw begins here.

We finally act, but if the results aren`t what we expected, we soon abandon this effort or change. Guess what ... you just lost the game! Remember: Anything worth doing is worth doing wrong! We have to distance ourselves from this action.

Take your child, for example. How many times would you allow your child to try to walk and fail before you prevented him or her from ever trying to walk again? Absurd? Yes, but we do it every day.

We find a new technique, take it back to our offices, and when it doesn`t work exactly as we were taught, we discard it. If you`re saying to yourself that you have changed, I have a challenge for you. We all know that successful people set goals, but I`m willing to bet that if we were talking face-to-face, you couldn`t produce even your personal goals. You haven`t listed your goals in a written plan with a completion date. I contend that you are not where you want to be because you have not done the most basic of planning. I contend that most of us spend more time planning our vacations than we do planning our future! It`s up to you to find out why you didn`t take this information and run with it.

The small booklet, It Works, was given to me some 20 years ago by my mentor. It has changed my life more than I would care to admit. It gives you all you need to know about goals, but I will try to expand on its profound simplicity.

The Bible says: "Without dreams and vision, we perish." You need to understand that once you set goals that really matter to you, you are no longer the same person. Real goals will affect almost everything you do all day long. And, these goals will be with you wherever you go. Your handshake, your manner of dressing, the tone of your voice, the way you feel - all of those things will change once you have goals. That`s because when your goals matter, everything you do becomes related to the accomplishment of those goals.

But for goals to really move you, to take charge of your life, they must be worthy. You don`t jump out of bed on Monday morning and say, "Oh boy, another chance to go out there and scrape up enough money to pay these lousy bills!" To have your goals transform you, you must set them high. Set them enough out of reach to cause you to grow and stretch; set them high enough to excite your imagination and pull you toward them. At the same time, don`t set them so far beyond you that you lose heart before you begin.

The real value of goals

Let me share with you an intriguing thought. The real value in setting goals is not in their achievement. The acquisition of the things you want is strictly secondary. The major reason for setting goals is to compel you to become the person it takes to achieve them. Let me explain.

Jim Rohn, author of Strategies for Wealth and Happiness, says it this way: "What do you think is the greatest value in becoming a millionaire? Is it the million dollars? I don`t think so. No, the greatest value is in the skills, knowledge, discipline, and leadership qualities you`ll develop in reaching that elevated status. It`s the experience you`ll acquire in planning and developing strategies. It`s the inner strength you`ll develop to have enough courage, commitment, and willpower to attract a million dollars."

Give a million dollars to someone who does not possess the attitude of a millionaire and the person most likely will lose it. But take away all the wealth from a true millionaire and, in no time, he or she will build a new fortune. Why? Because those who earn their millionaire status develop the skills, knowledge, and experience to duplicate the process again and again.

As you can see, when someone is a millionaire, the least important thing is what he or she has. The most important thing is what they have become.

Here`s a question you should spend some time pondering. What kind of person will you have to become to get all you want? In fact, why not write down a few thoughts on this in a notebook or journal. Write down the type of skills you`ll need to develop and the knowledge you will need to gain. The answers will give you some new goals for personal development.

Remember this rule: Income rarely exceeds personal development! That`s why all of us must subject ourselves to self-examination. I often look at my life and ask, "Well, here`s what I want, but am I willing to become the kind of person it will take?" If I`m too lazy, if I`m not willing to learn, read, study, and grow to become what I must become, then I cannot expect to attract what I want. Now, when faced with a choice, I must decide to either change myself or change my wants.

When setting goals, especially for the first time, it`s easy to become overwhelmed by the process. My advice to you is ... relax! If you don`t feel you`re equipped to get what you want, remember this: Your ability will grow to match your dreams! This is the magic of goal-setting. The more you work on your goals, the more new opportunities will present themselves to you. Inside each new opportunity will be the seed of a solution to a previous, seemingly unsolvable problem.

Begin the journey now

So, don`t be afraid to get started. The journey will take you far beyond your wildest imagination. I know. The person I was 20 years ago when my mentor gave me that little book is a stranger to me today. I am no longer that person. I`ve changed ... and so can you!

Most people are afraid to get going because of past failure and pain. They carry heavy burdens on their souls - burdens, that unless unloaded, will weigh them down forever.

There is nothing you or I can do about the past. It`s gone and buried. But you can do a great deal about your future. You don`t have to be the person you were yesterday. You can make changes in your life - absolutely startling changes in a fairly short period of time. You can make changes you can`t even imagine right now if you just give yourself half a chance.

Your abilities will grow. You`ll draw on untapped potential and talents that you never knew existed. As times goes by, you`ll draw from new reserves deep within your creative mind. Before you know it, you`ll be able to accomplish things that now seem impossible to achieve. You`ll be able to handle things you never thought you could handle. Your mind will give birth to new and creative ideas.

Why are goals so powerful? How can they cause all this to happen? I don`t know. I guess these questions fall into that special category I call "the mysteries of life." All I can tell you is that it does work. Find out for yourself. Give yourself the chance to become all you can become and accomplish all you can accomplish.

As the Bible says in Proverbs 24:3-4, "Any enterprise is built by wise planning ... becomes strong through common sense ... and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts."

Far too often, I find myself investing the time and effort to share the visions and goals that our doctor/clients have for their practices, only to find that the goals are only a fanciful wish list. Probably every doctor I have spoken with claims to have goals, yet they produce few results. Written, balanced goals with a time frame for accomplishing them always produces results. In an effort to compare apples to apples, I have created a framework for your goals. It will take a little time and effort, but the rewards will be an unerring vision of the future that will produce results today.

Goal-setting is recognized as perhaps the strongest of all forces for personal motivation toward the cultivation of leadership abilities. Goal-setting is the art that makes everything else possible. It adds aim to energy, focuses talent, and even structures time.

Before you will be able to motivate your staff - and even yourself - you must understand goal-setting. You must analyze yourself and be able to define your own goals. These goals will form the framework for your practice vision.

Eliminate the fear factor

Did you know that five out of 10 people avoid setting goals because they are afraid they`ll feel bad if they don`t reach them? When people are unsuccessful in goal-setting and leadership, it usually is because they don`t know where to begin. You can no longer use this as an excuse. When you identify your goals, you will begin to sense the power of your own talents, abilities, and capacity to effect changes in yourself. You will emerge from underneath hindering circumstances that have previously limited you and establish a more concrete leadership direction. You will be more goal-directed and achievement-motivated. As a result, you will develop a "no limitations" belief in yourself and your ability to lead that will inevitably carry you to whatever heights of achievement you envision.

Basic steps to achieving goals

(1) First, you must decide clearly what you want, not what you might occasionally wish for or half-heartedly want. Determine that which you sincerely and earnest desire.

(2) Write out your exact goals, in the order of their importance - the things and conditions you really, truly want.

(3) Set out, in writing, the desired date of the accomplishment of your goal. This does away with the "someday I`m gonna" syndrome.

(4) Read the list of what you want three times each day - i.e., morning, noon, and night. See yourself enjoying the accomplishment of your goal. Believe you can accomplish it and you will achieve it. Think of your goals throughout the day. If you ever slip toward worry, immediately stop yourself from this misuse of your imagination and reverse the worry process by dwelling on your desired outcome.

(5) Consciously develop a detailed, schedule plan of action to bring it about. Then, take one little step at a time, progressing toward your goals.

(6) Alert your subconscious mind and let it start working for you. Go on about your regular business and let it begin to happen. Strengthen your conviction by giving thanks that it already is done. Have faith and patience. Work and believe; amazing results will come about!

- On practice and family goals, you probably will want to discuss and share their development with the members involved. However, when it comes to your personal goals, do not talk to others about your plan.

- Think and act confidently and successfully and you will begin to feel, then actually become, confident and successful. Confidence and enthusiasm are contagious; so are the lack of these two attributes. Think, act, practice, and live the traits and qualities you desire and they will become yours!

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