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When I hear the word “goals”, or when people talk about goal-setting, something inside me cringes.  I picture some kind of schoolmaster getting in my face telling me to make something of myself.  He’s pacing back and forth, staring at me over the top of his glasses and telling me all about how I am failing to meet expectations. My mind becomes flooded with the multitudinous tasks that I never seem to make much progress on and I try to figure out how I could be more productive.  It eliminates the wonder and mystery in life and steals the open spaces where all the magic happens.  It’s mostly an exercise in limiting the most enjoyable aspects of my life and putting more effort into the things I feel like I ought to do.  Isn’t that what everybody does at the beginning of a new year?  Is that how you think about goal-setting?

That was my old view of goals and I’ve decided to opt out of it.

I now have a new view of goal-setting and it has made all the difference.  It begins with one question, “what do I want?” You don’t start with a list of tasks and obligations. You start by dreaming about the life you want to live.

Here’s what I do; I start with the 7 areas of life that Zig Ziglar refers to as “the wheel of life” (spiritual, family, social, personal development, physical, career, and financial). I dream in each of these areas and I write down my dreams.  I don’t hold back.  I am intentionally audacious with my dreams for each area.

If I could progress in my relationship with God, what would it look like?  How would I spend time with Him?  How would I hear from Him? Etc.

What would the ultimate family dynamic look like?  What sort of relationship do I have with my wife and with my kids?  How do we spend time together as a family, and how much? Etc.

I do this for all 7 areas and what emerges is a gapping chasm between where I am and where I want to be.  Then, I simply ask myself how I can move from here to there and I try to structure my life accordingly. It’s just your dreams boiled down into a way of living each day.

That’s it!  Goals are an answer to the question, “what do you want?”  Answering that question, while believing that such things are possible, just might change your life forever.  You just have to opt in.