I’m Tired of Hearing about GOALS! Enough Already!

I hear and see so much about goals this time of year, and I think about how sad it is that the “goal” setting process most people use focuses on the short-term. We set “goals” that are really short-term objectives for this calendar year without thinking about what our long-term desire really is. The result is a zig-zag path of short-term objectives over several years because we’re not connected to our long-term desire. If we really want to get to the long-term desire, call it Point B, then the shortest distance from here, Point A, to there, Point B, is a straight line, right?

My suggestion for you today is to look at a bigger picture, make sure you know what your Point B is, and distill it down to specific objectives and goals for the year that will move you toward your ultimate desire (Point B). The straight line approach!

A Practical Example

I’ve been working on my 2019 plan since the first of December. One of my long-term strategies is to build an active speaking business. That is defined (by me) as 15 to 24 speaking engagements per year. One of my desires for this strategy was to secure a speaking engagement at the GAMA LAMP meeting in March. Got it; done deal! NOW my short-term goals are all about preparing for that engagement. My desire is to speak at LAMP and see it generate many speaking engagements for 2019.

My desire requires not only work on my part, but decisions made by others that are outside my control. That makes it a desire but not a goal. Goals are the action steps that I must take to see my desire come to pass. Goals are totally under my control and not dependent on anyone else to add input or make a decision.

  • MY GOALS (totally under my control)
  • Review the graphics in my LAMP presentation this week
  • Practice my presentation
  • Prepare for my rehearsal with GAMA in January
  • Do it!
  • MY DESIRES (influenced by others)
  • Build an active speaking business
  • Generate 15 to 24 speaking engagements per year
  • Secure a speaking engagement at GAMA LAMP in March
  • Receive feedback on my rehearsal with GAMA in January

My “goals” are all the things I must do to be prepared to speak at LAMP. All those things are actions that I control and only I control. No one else can practice my presentation to be ready to speak. No one else can prepare for my rehearsal with GAMA in Chicago on January 10th. Those are “goals” because no one else is needed for me to accomplish them. My desire for the January rehearsal is to have very positive feedback from GAMA with ideas I can use to improve my presentation. That’s a desire because I don’t control the feedback I will ultimately receive. My goals are all the practice and preparation steps.

“You’re just playing with semantics, Morris!”

I don’t think so. If I know my goals are all within my control, there is no excuse for not accomplishing them. If I know my desires are dependent on other people, I won’t “beat myself up” for not seeing them come to pass. In reality there’s a much greater chance that my desire will happen if I do the things to get there that are totally under my control (i.e. my goals). Understanding these definitions will cause me to focus and accomplish those things that I can control. I’ll work harder and smarter to make that happen because I know I can do it and I want to make it happen.

This is a brief example of the concept my mentor Dr. Randy Marshall taught me. To maintain our sanity, we must focus on those things over which we have control. We call those goals. We work to accomplish our goals, and we pray that our desires will come to pass.

If you’d like to hear an overview of the 8 Steps to Success and how Goals versus Desires fits in, please check It out below!

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