From Brian Tracy, author of "Goals" --
Only 3% of adults have clear, written, specific, measurable, time-bounded goals, and by every statistic, they accomplish ten times as much as people with no goals at all. Why is it then that most people have no goals?
Myth One: “I already have goals; I don’t need to set any.” People who say this also say that their goals are to be rich, thin, happy, successful, and live their dreams. Buy these are not goals, they are wishes and fantasies common to all mankind. A goal is like a beautiful home, carefully designed, revised continually, upgraded regularly, and worked on constantly. If it is not in writing, it is merely a dream or a wish, a vague objective with no energy behind it.
Myth Two: “I don’t need goals; I’m doing fine.” Living your life without goals and objectives is setting off across unknown territory with no road signs and no road map. You have no choice but to make it up as you go along, reacting and responding to whatever happens, and hoping for the best. If you are doing well today without written goals and plans, you could probably be doing many times better in the future if you had clear targets to aim at and the ability to measure your progress as you go along. It is vital to have goal setting objectives.
Myth Three: “I don’t need written goals; I have them all in my mind.” The average stream of consciousness includes about 1,500 thoughts a minute. If your goals are only in your mind, they are invariably jumbled up, vague, confused, contradictory and deficient in many ways. They offer no clarity and give you no motive power. You become like a ship without a rudder, drifting with the tides, crashing into the rocks inevitably and never really fulfilling your true potential.
Myth Four: “I don’t know how to set goals.” No wonder. You can take a Masters degree at a leading university and never receive a single hour of instruction on goal setting and achieving. Fortunately, setting a goal is a skill, like time management, teaching, selling, managing, or anything else that you need to become a highly productive and effective person. And all skills are learnable. You can learn the skill of goal-setting by practice and repetition until it becomes as easy and as automatic as breathing. And from the very first day that you begin setting goals, the progress you will make and the successes you will enjoy will astonish you.
Myth Five: “Goals don’t work; life is too unpredictable.” When a plane takes off for a distant city, it will be off course 99% of the time. The complexity of the avionics and the skill of the pilots are focused on continual course corrections. It is the same in life. But when you have a clear, long-term goal, with specific plans to achieve it, you may have to change course many times, but you will eventually arrive at your destination of health, wealth and great success.
One last point. Goal setting has been called the master skill of success. You have two choices in life: You can either work on your own goals, or you can work for someone else, and work on achieving their goals. When you learn the master skill, you take complete control of your life and jump to the front of the line in your potential for great achievement.