Wishes Aren’t Horses; Goals Get You There
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. As the old proverb suggests, wishes aren’t horses. You won’t get anywhere or accomplish anything by wishing for it. You have to get on your horse and ride towards your goals, not wish for them to find you.
Recently, I was helping a young man with goal-setting. While he did a good job of writing out his goals, he began every sentence with “I wish.” I quickly pointed out to him that unless a magical Genie could grant him his heart’s desire, wishing wasn’t going to do him any good.
Think about it. If you drive by a tennis court and arbitrarily wish that you were good at the sport, you’re not going to suddenly be given an invitation to play at Wimbledon. Unless you start hitting the courts and playing on a regular basis, you probably won’t even be able to make it past Love! The same applies to work. If you wake up each day and wish you had a successful career, but do nothing to better your education, your skills, or your situation, don’t be expecting a raise to suddenly appear on your paycheck. Nothing worth having comes easy…so if it’s worth wishing for, it’s worth working for!
That’s just what I told the young man I was mentoring. I explained that writing out goals is imperative, but not if they’re mere wishes or dreams. The most important step in goal-setting is outlining the concrete action steps that are needed to achieve, and not just wish for, the intended outcome.
Here’s an example of how to set concrete goals:
Let’s say you begin with the thought, “I wish I could travel the world.” That’s a dream. If you’re serious about it, you need to turn it into a goal. First, make it specific and concrete. Where do you want to go? What do you want to see? When do you want to do it? Instead of the wish, turn it into a goal: “I will visit all 50 states in 10 years.”
Now that you have a concrete goal set over a specific period of time, you can begin to break that down into smaller, more manageable short-term goals. For instance, if you divide 50 states over 10 years, you can estimate you need to visit 5 states per year on average to meet your goal. So the new goal becomes: “Every year for the next 10 years, I’m going to visit five different states.”
You can then further break that down into even smaller steps. “This year, I’m going to Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, and Indiana.” Then get even more specific. “Next month, I’m scheduling a long weekend in Michigan.” Once you’ve booked the trip, you’re on your way! You’ve set a goal, met a goal, and are on the path towards achieving what was once only a dream.
But wait…what about bumps in the road? There are always obstacles to overcome and issues to deal with when trying to meet goals. Some you can plan for, while others you must deal with as they arise. With our above-stated goal of extensive travel, cost would a very real factor (unless you’re independently wealthy). So a new goal must be set. Either you plan ways to make more money, save more money, or find creative, low-cost travel options. Maybe you’ll implement a combination of all three! (For some tips, check out my InspiringTravellers.com article, 12 Ways to Save for that Special Vacation.) The point is, in order to meet your goals, you’re going to have to work at it, adjust it, and then keep at it!
There’s no guarantee that all your goals will be met, but you’ve certainly got a better shot of getting where you want to go if you outline a road map and setup a route to get there. If you just start driving around aimlessly or worse yet, never even get in the car, I guarantee you’re going nowhere. So get in the car or get on that horse and get moving. Remember, wishes aren’t horses, but with concrete goals, you’ll be riding off into the sunset!