Some twenty-four years ago (oh my where has the time gone) I met me wife, and a short time thereafter we met a good friend who started talking to us about the importance of life goals – things we wanted to do in your life time. He explained that individuals who have goals and actually write them down are statistically the ones who actually get things accomplished in life, and I believed him. We started to think about the things we wanted to do in life, the things we wanted to experience, which I believe is different from the “bucket list” – the things you want to get accomplished before you die.
I started my list of what I call my life goals, and listed things (with the aid of my now wife) we mutually wanted to do. I documented my list, and over time I have added to it.
The most rewarding part of the process is when I look back at my list and mark off the things I actually set out to accomplish and completed. I have had the fortune of accomplishing many of my initially listed items. For example, I attended the Olympics, visited Carribean Islands, watched the ball drop in Times Square in New York City on New Years’ Eve, flown an airplane, obtained my EMT certification, achieved black belt in martial arts, went scuba diving, and as of last week went flying in a helicopter.
Over time I have added new goals to my original list, of which I have accomplished some of those as well. I am an adjunct professor, I have been the keynote speaker at national conferences, and I have published three books (all in the last year). I look back at my accomplishments and know it was attributable to the advice I received so long ago.
Remaining on my list are items including learning sign language, attending a major parade, visiting Hawaii, appearing on national television and being featured in a well-recognized magazine like Time or Wall Street Journal. I know these may never happen, but if I don’t list them, they never likely will.
I often talk with students, mainly at the high school and college levels, but at times with younger students as well, and I encourage them to set themselves goals starting at an early age – goals that pertain to what they want to accomplish in their next five years. I pass along the advice and wisdom I received which has really helped me accomplosh so much.
If as you are reading this you don’t have life goals set for yourself, take a few moments to think of the things you wish to do in life, the things you want to do with money no object, no matter how far away and how impractical they may be, and write out your list. Post your list somewhere where you will see it every day, and you may just be surprised how well you do with your goals.