Lose 10 pounds. Write a book. Have a successful business. Travel the world. Go back to school. Buy a house. Retire early. Become a millionaire. Run a marathon.
Do any of these "wants" sound familiar? We all have them, that desire to do something, be something or go somewhere. We may even have a long list of wants, and we may have titled it "Goals." Why do we accomplish some things on that list while others languish? How do we move our "want-to's" to goals and then accomplishments?
"If the Lord had meant for man to run, he'd have given him four legs or at least made him late for a bus." --Red Smith, Sportswriter
Not many people want to run 26.2 miles just for the sake of doing it. Those who do may not always make it to the finish line. I mean let's face it, what possible sane reason would you have for deliberately choosing to train for months and then spend a perfectly good Saturday or Sunday running for 3 or more hours for a lousy t-shirt and race swag?
Training for and running a marathon requires commitment. If all you have is "want-to" you may not make it to the starting line let alone the finish line. Desire without meaning only has the power to get you started. You may last for a week or two but one day desire will simply not be enough to get you out of bed.
Goals are "want-to's" with meaning on their bones. Ah but not just any meaning will do, it has to be meaningful to you. Do you want to write a book? Run a marathon? Lose weight? Develop a $1M business? Gain 1000 followers on Twitter? Have 35,000 people subscribed to your blog?
All of the above may be perfectly good want-to's but now you must ask: Why? When the goal is achieved, what will that mean to you? Is that meaning so vivid, and so significant that you're ready to make sacrifices to attain it? Do you simply want it because your mentor, husband, friend, or guru said you should want it? What does not attaining it mean to you?
I ran my first marathon because I did not want to die. More specifically I did not want to die too soon or worse live long but with a plastic baggie filled with prescription medication. The image of being old and sick motivated me to change my life. I had never run one mile let alone 26.2 and honestly I didn't even know enough to understand the goal I set. I only knew that I was running for my life. When desire waned, meaning carried me on.
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." -- Abraham Lincoln
This is not a magic formula for attaining goals. It is however a method that will allow you to choose the wants that really matter enough to you to pursue. Will you have challenges? You bet! Is it possible to fail? Absolutely! However, meaning gives you fuel to recover and try again.
As you review your own goal list, have you set goals or desires? Is the goal big enough, meaningful enough and vivid enough to risk failing in order to achieve it? As you look past on past accomplishments, what made the difference for you?
Photo Credit: © Dawn Hudson | Dreamstime.com