In Mark McCormack’s book, “What They Don’t Teach you at Harvard Business School,” Harvard University conducted a study from 1979 – 1989 with MBA Program graduates. They were asked the question, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” 3 percent had clearly written goals and plans. 13 percent had goals but not in writing, and 84 percent had no specific goals at all. Ten years later it was found that the 3 percent who had clearly written goals earned ten times as much as the 97 percent who did not have clear goals. I found these results to be very interesting.

Relatively little of note has been accomplished without goal setting. Prayerfully considering God’s direction for our lives and developing clearly written goals in the most important areas are critically important. Goals should be set in important areas such as the 7 F’s as described by Dr. Ron Jensen of Future Achievement International. The 7F’s are Faith – Family – Fitness – Finances – Fun – Firm – Friends. Paul Meyer of Leadership Management, Inc. introduced The Wheel of Life, which is considered Family/Home – Financial/Career – Mental/Educational – Physical/Health – Social/Cultural – Spiritual/Health. Before goals are written, these important areas of life should be prioritized based on what is most important to each of us individually.

The essential steps in the goal setting process are as follows:

  • Establish SMART goals in the areas of life previously mentioned aligned with a personal mission statement. SMART goals are specific – measurable – achievable – relevant – time-bound. You must be clear on the desired future.
  • Develop action steps for each goal and consider the benefits to be gained from moving forward and the losses to be avoided by not doing so.
  • Add deadlines for action and determine who will hold you accountable for achieving them. Coaching and accountability are a very important part of the process. Identify a competent coach and/or inspiring mentor.

God has created each of us for a purpose. My hope is that we will make it a priority to live faithful, meaningful and intentional lives. Being included in the 3 percent who have clearly written goals should be our aim. There is power in goal setting, but we will only realize it if we are intentional about setting them and taking action. If we do this well, we will ultimately achieve goals that really matter and lead more meaningful and productive lives.

Written by, Mike Kelly of Right Path Enterprises, LLC, December 2016