How many of you have goals in life? I would suspect all of you reading this, at some time or another, have set a goal. As a coach, I see the highest amount of goal setting at the beginning of the year. Most people call them “resolutions,” but when you make a resolution to watch less TV or eat right or exercise more, what you’re really doing is setting a goal. In one of my early leadership classes, I learned about SMART goals. Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonable, and Timely. And while that’s as true today as it was when I first heard it, an even more important part of goal setting is the “why.”
When an athlete tells me they want to lose 20 pounds, my automatic response is why. That’s not an attempt to dissuade them from their pursuit, but I want to hear about the deeper meaning behind the goal. And here’s why – All goals require sacrifice. Sacrifice is not at the top of most people’s priority list when they set goals. What we do as humans is imagine our life as if we’ve already achieved our goal. We see the new us in the mirror, we see the new corner office or six figure salary, we see the healthy marriage and amazing kids we’ve always wanted. But before any of that even has a chance of becoming a reality, you’re going to have make some significant sacrifices to get there. And your willingness to sacrifice depends on your “why.”
Let me give you an example. Take the athlete who told me they wanted to lose 20 pounds. When I asked why, it was revealed that during a recent visit to the doctor, some serious health concerns were discovered that were primarily linked to body weight. The doctor told the athlete that these health conditions could lead to possible death. When someone tells me they need to change their life because their health is at risk, I know that can be a motivating place to start. But that doesn’t mean the goal is a guaranteed lock. You still not only have to make sacrifices; you must also be willing to sustain them when it gets hard. It’s ok to look in the mirror and not be satisfied with what you see. It’s another thing to wake up every day committed to doing something about it.
When we began to apply the same principle of goals to how my wife and I communicated in our marriage, it took a huge leap forward. This works in any relationship you have, but the closer you are to the person, the better the results. When one of us has said or done something to hurt the other person’s feelings, we have the freedom to share what happened and then ask this question, “Was that your goal?” Because honestly, sometimes our goal is to hurt someone else. Especially if we feel like they’ve done something to hurt us. Other times, it’s not. When you bring your work to your living room or your dinner table, you may completely miss what’s going on around you. Scrolling your feed to engage with the digital world can leave those closest to you feeling disengaged. But was that your goal? Was that really why you said that thing or did that thing or didn’t do that thing? A spiritually fit life is one of awareness. We must become more aware of who we are and how we impact those around us. You will discover more fulfillment in life by gaining better mastery and control of your emotions and actions. The easiest way to do that is to start by asking yourself, What’s your goal?