The Importance of Goal Setting


(Excerpt From: Faith With Focus: How To Live Your Life With Passion And Rule It With Reason)

“Little tiny dreams require little tiny thoughts and little tiny steps.
Great big dreams require great big thoughts and little tiny steps.
Do I paint a clear picture?”
—The Universe

Goals are good because they can be broken down into smaller steps. Goals provide focus and clarity and paint the target that your mind aims for consciously and subconsciously. When your mind is fixed on a goal, creativity soars as your brain searches for a way to accomplish the goal that has been set. Your mind also begins to align itself with the natural flow of the Universe, and the law of attraction then begins to bring you the material and energy sources that are needed to realize the goal at hand. Without a goal, you are likely to drift aimlessly through the Universe like a rudderless and unmanned boat in the great big ocean of life. How can you hit a bull’s-eye if you don’t have a target to shoot at?

Setting and achieving goals are like anything else—you need to immerse yourself in the practice of goal setting so you can master the art of setting and accomplishing goals. However, before we launch into the actual mechanics of setting goals, let’s take a page out of the playbook of executive coach and host of the Get-It-Done Guy podcast Stever Robbins. Robbins advocates for setting goals that define the journey as much as the outcome.  Much like Mike Dooley, he suggests you answer the following questions to choose a “life direction” rather than “life goals”:

  • How do I want to spend my time?
  • What daily activities make me want to leap out of bed?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • Who do I want to hang out with? Talk with? Collaborate with?

This makes perfect sense to me. As you will soon see, the best things in life are the things you get from engaging in what motivational speakers refer to as “inspired action.” Getting my son out of bed in the morning during his middle school days ranged something between a challenge and an all-out war. However, when I took him on a private guided salmon tour while on vacation in Alaska, he had no problem leaping out of bed at 3:00 a.m. Funny how that works. If you can find a line of work that you enjoy so much that it does not usually feel like work, then you are on the right path. If it turns out that the path you follow not only keeps you happy and fulfilled in the moment but also can bring to you the “thing” goals in life, then you are really rocking your life.

In short, this is a book about making decisions that make sense but also feel right. Pick something that can get you to your destination, but something that develops you as a person and at the end of the day makes you happy. If you associate too much pain with reaching for your goal, the chances are you will quit.

Are there exceptions? Yes. There are some pursuits that are thoroughly engaging but are unlikely to produce enough income in the present to create the life you imagine. A perfect example of this is one of my adjunct law professors. Earlier in his career he left the practice of law to move to Los Angeles and pursue his true passion of being a jazz pianist. After a couple of years of trying to make it full time in the music business, he found that he could make more money, predictably, practicing law than he could as a full-time musician. Hence, he returned to the practice of law and is now one of, if not the leading, legal authority on his niche practice area. And guess what he does for fun? He still performs gigs as a jazz pianist. His law practice provides the opportunity to support his passion for music, and his passion for music drives him to master his area of law. Consequently, he excels at both.

If I simply think about “the practice of law,” I don’t feel inspired. In fact, I associate a sense of uneasiness and stress with the thought of “practicing law,” which is a demanding and pressure-filled profession. However, when I think about my estate planning practice, where I am mentally engaged and where I get to become intimately involved in planning my clients’ background, family dynamic, and their legacy, I feel inspired and energized. After a client meeting where these matters are discussed, I often think that I can’t believe I get paid for doing something I love. Love what you do, do it well, and the money will come. Money is indeed important to me, but the way I go about earning it is important to me, too.