Goals are like signposts. As long as you can see these signposts, then you know you are heading in the right direction. When you set goals, you eliminate the possibility veering off the track and derailing into failure. When a train veers of the rails, the entire locomotive is derailed. Looking at the rails, one does not see anything special in them; just a solid mass of steel. But that simple mass of steel ensures that the train remains on course and that everyone on board reaches their destination safely and on time.
Goals are like rails. Without them, our claim to success will never find expression in reality. Just as a train must stay on the rails to complete the journey, our dreams, our ambitions, and our desires must find expression in goals that are clear, realistic and timely.
When we have well articulated and clearly defined goals, the journey towards success becomes lighter, even less tiring. This is because goals help us to (i) stay focused (ii) be realistic in our expectations (iii) gauge our progress (iv) avoid being overwhelmed (v) re-evaluate and redefine our strategy to ensure conformity and consistency with our objectives.
John Maxwell says "obstacles are the things you see when you take your eyes off the goal". How true! Every time you take your eyes away from the goal at hand, you will surely wander off into troubled waters. If you get to a point in your success journey where you can't see your goal, you are definitely headed into failure territory.
Goals constantly remind us that there are tasks that need to be done, and within a particular time frame, for us to make progress. Without goals reminding us of where we are and what we are supposed to do to get where we ought to be, we will only be working hard and achieving nothing. Hard work, as Maxwell says, "is the accumulation of easy tasks you did not do when you should have". The easy routine tasks that we sometimes ignore feeds into our success. Failure to perform these tasks will translate into failure.
Goals must be realistic
Goals must be firmly established upon unflinching reality. If you want to go to New York and you only have ten dollars, it would be foolhardy to start packing for your journey. The reality is that boarding a plane to New York from Nairobi costs more than 10 dollars! But you say, "I have faith in God"? Well, faith is not foolish, neither is it an emotion. No amount of goose bumps or frenzied hysteria will take you to New York on ten dollars. Be real or you will miss the deal.
Goals are yardsticks
Like yardsticks, goals help us gauge or measure our progress, or lack of it. Without goals constantly reminding us where we are and what we should be doing to get where we ought to be, we will be running wild. No amount of sticking our head deep into the sand will help us achieve success. We must stick it out to the end by daily attaining the goals we have set for ourselves. This can only be done if today's tasks are 'done' today!
To post pone to tomorrow today's task will only mean one thing: a clog up tasks. The result is that we end up breaking our backs trying to accomplish both yesterday's and today's tasks; resulting in sloppy and unfinished tasks.
Goals help us avoid overwhelm
To de-stress our lives, we need to learn how to work smart by finishing our daily tasks on schedule.
This is important if we are to avoid being overwhelmed by tasks carried over from yesterday.
One of the leading causes of burnout and depression is the failure to tackle simple tasks on time. As tasks pile up one after another, we end up having to work overtime and sometimes overnight; pushing our body to limits it was not designed to go. To avoid overwhelm, learn to decongest your life by doing what must be done today, today! However if you want to work hard and up stressing yourself, go ahead and let the tasks accumulate.
Goals help us re-strategize
Finally we need to re-evaluate and redefine our strategy to ensure conformity with our objectives. Strategies help us achieve our goals faster. However, some of the strategies we use are sometimes rendered obsolete by the passage of time. When this happens, it is important to redefine or tweak them a little.
Strategies must always remain relevant and in line with the desired goals. When they become irrelevant or obsolete, they should be discarded and new ones invented.
Strategies help us save time by crowding out irrelevant tasks; those that only take up our time but which do not feed into in to our goals. Strategies also help us to concentrate on priority tasks; those that are crucial to the attainment of our goals.