When you go to get directions to someplace you’ve never been before, the first bit of information needed is your current address, right? What’s the second bit of information needed? Your destination. Google Maps can’t tell you how to get where you want to go if it doesn’t know your destination. And neither can you.
If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there? An obvious question, perhaps, but how many of us head into our futures without having a plan of action? We wouldn’t do it for a vacation, but too many of us do head into the future without any idea of where we want to end up.
There are two very important things you need to know if you want to plan a journey. You need to know where you are, and you need to know exactly where you want to go. Once you know these two things, the rest becomes fairly easy. You plan, which might include a map or a strategy, and you follow the plan to your destination.
Going through life without setting clear goals is a little like starting out on a trip with no idea where you intend to go. Now you might wind up having a very pleasant time, but the odds are against it. Somewhere along the way, you will be faced with having to make some choices. Now would you rather decide where to go based on the things you happen to have with you, or would you rather pack things that are appropriate for the destination? (While a swimming mask might be of help, you aren’t going to bring a snorkel and flippers on your way across the Sahara Desert, for example.)
Having clear goals helps you to avoid time-consuming side trips down roads that lead nowhere. Clear goals act like the rudder on a ship. They steer you in the direction you have chosen, and help you avoid the dangerous currents and rocks that might otherwise run you aground or take you to the last place on Earth you want to go.
Finally, goals give you a sense of accomplishment and reason to celebrate, because you know when you have arrived. Do you know where you want to go in your life? If not, it will be worth your time to find out. Start goal-setting today. Wherever it is, you can get there! It is just like loading your destination into a GPS. You just need to know where you want to go.