This is about the time of the year when new year resolutions have come to a halt or a distant memory. You may have started January with great gusto but now in February, those resolutions are either forgotten or just too hard and therefore ends in the “tried but failed” graveyard.
Let me highlight and remind you why goals are important:
- Goals help you to focus your energy and time. We do not have an endless supply of time or energy. Goals will help you to focus or prioritise how and what you will use your energy and time for. Goals will help you to make the right decision and trade-offs when confronted with multiple requests or tasks.
- Goals help you to persevere with hope. Sounds strange but if we set realistic expectations and goals, it is able to motivate us. Motivation and hope serves as fuel for perseverance. It is the reaching of a realistic but challenging goal that will drive you forward. The hope that reaching that goal will give you a reward will help you to persevere. The reward is up to you to define.
- Goals are character building. More than the achievement of the goal is the process by which it was achieved. More often than not, the process of struggling, striving, persevering and challenging yourself in achieving the goal builds character. We learn more about ourselves through the process as well as building muscles in areas like focus, commitment, dedication, perseverance and discipline.
- Goals ensure that you line up your potential. Potential cannot be realised if we don’t work at it. Potential can only be released when it is applied. Potential must be worked on. Goals will help you work on your potential as it requires application of your potential. When you are working at it, your skills and abilities are being developed. Potential with work will bring you accomplishments.
- Goals will drive you forward. Goals will drive you forward whilst being goal-less will cause you to drift. Drifting through life is one of the most wasteful use of your potential. Driving forward will ensure that you are taking accountability for your life. Goals that drive you forward will always give you significance.
The challenge with goals is that is can be scary and terrifying. It is terrifying because of the fear of failure. No one wants to fail at achieving a goal. Therefore in order to avoid failure, it is easier to not have goals. However, to fail at a goal does not equate to you being a failure. In fact, it simply means that you did not achieve the goal for whatever the reason. In the working out of the goal, the real outcome is lesson. What did you learn? What could you do differently? What needs to change? How could I overcome this barrier?
Goals will give you a purpose. A “why” am I doing this. Every person who you would consider as successful, would certainly have goals in their life. So don’t give up on having goals for yours. Make goals or continue in persevering and working on the goals that you have set.
How do you set goals? Ask yourself the following questions:
- What does a successful year look like to you?
- What areas of my life am I “fed-up” with that I want to change?
- What stops me from having goals?
- If I could do anything, what would that be?
- If there were no limits, what could I accomplish?
- What am I passionate about?
- What do I want to learn this year?
- If I don’t have any ideas, where can I go to get some ideas? Who can I talk to?
- What is a realistic and yet challenging goal?
- What do I need to have in place in order to achieve my goals?
Take the time and set at least a couple of goals for yourself this year. You will look back and know that 2017 is a year that you have accomplished much.
Potential, that’s term that we commonly hear. Whether we are talking about a child or an employee or about you. Questions are abound and it goes something like this:
- What is your potential?
- How do you know if you are living up to your potential?
- How do you know if you have maxed out on your potential?
- What can you do to develop your potential?
No doubt that these questions have been asked and you may have also come up with some answers of your own. Some common answers would be
- “I don’t know what my potential is?”
- “I feel like I have reached the pinnacle of my potential.”
- “I don’t want to know.”
- “I am afraid to challenge myself.”
Is there a way for you and me to know for sure? The first step is to know and understand what potential is and is not. According to the Oxford Dictionary, potential is “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.”
Therefore potential is about:
- An ability or skill or talent that you have and have demonstrated it in some behaviour or action.
- It can be develop further, not stagnant and can grow and increase with usage and time.
- It is forward looking. It continues to grow if it is continuously being developed.
- It is “alive”, waiting to be realised and desiring to grow.
- Prospect of and for greater success.
- There is always room for improvement.
Conversely potential is not about:
- One time experience or achievement.
- It is not past tense.
- Being contented with where you are at.
- Hiding it or putting a lid on your strengths or skills.
What can we do to living out our potential? There are 6 ways to ensure that we live out and up to our potential:
- Forward Looking: It is about the next step, the next milestone, the next goal, the next area of growth, always asking the question of “What’s Next?”. It is forgetting what is behind or in the past, and striving to move forward with the aim of doing and being better.
- Say “Yes” to Challenges and “No” to Fear. Growth only comes when there is resistance and challenges to be faced and overcome. When an opportunity arises to push your skills or abilities further, take it on. No matter what we do, there will always be fear involved. No one goes through life without feeling fearful, but the one who overcomes fear will always come out of it having grown and learnt more than expected.
- Keep on keeping on. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. It is all about perseverance and determination. Once you have committed to a certain goal, be focus and stay the course. It is easy to give up half way or even right before the end, and we all know the regret that comes from it. It is with those past experience that should help us to remember that there is always a positive outcome if we never give up. There is always experiences to be gained.
- Belief. You must have the belief that this is the path that want to take. You must believe that this is your purpose. You must believe that this is your calling. Belief is important to keep you keeping on.
- Vision of the outcome can be very different from how you start out. What you start out with may look very different from how it ends up. There are those who are able to achieve exactly what they set out to. Most of us will find that the achievements are different from what had envisioned. However, it is always satisfying if it’s the working out of our potential.
- It is Not solely about the achievement but about Maturing.
- skills and abilities
- emotional and mental maturity.
Where are you in the journey of living out your potential? What would you do differently? Where do you see your potential taking you? What is holding you back? What would propel you forward?
Potential is all about the future. Don’t let the past failure or setback put a full stop on your potential. Focus on the future and just how bright and promising it can be.