I had junior high teacher who posted this quote over his desk: To score, you must first have a goal. The problem with many us in the military is that we get so busy with missions that we fail to establish goals for ourselves. We therefore can find ourselves reaching points in our lives where we find ourselves feeling lost or confused, like we lost our azimuth. Too many of us have no real goals and do not know where we are going.
This dilemma is summarized well in a conversation between Alice and the Cheshire cat from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
(Chapter 6, Pig and Pepper)
We can do much better than that. We should very much care where we are going, and where we would like to go!
One of my mentors keeps challenging me to set goals for myself. This is not something that I do naturally. He on the other hand does this each year for himself as well as with each member of his family. He breaks his goals down into four categories: Spiritual, Physical, Social, and Intellectual. For spiritual, he might set a goal to read the bible for 30 minutes a day five days a week. For physical, he may set a goal to engage in aerobic exercise 5 days a week. For Social, he may agree to volunteer at church or his community at least once a month. Intellectual, he may set a goal to read a biography a month of someone he admires.
He pointed out that as a Christian father I can also use these same categories to set goals specifically for my family. Or better put, what goals am I going to set to be a better husband and father.
These goals are best when written down and shared with someone who will hold you accountable. My friend and his family actually post their goals on a board in their home.
By setting reasonable personal, professional, and family goals, we can better avoid getting lost, and come closer to the destination and outcome that we desire. I leave you with this thought from the legendary coach Bear Bryant who wrote: “Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.”
CH (COL-ret), USA