You may have noticed that Dave Ramsey is really into goals. In fact, Dave loves to encourage folks to set goals for their lives. After all, the Bible makes it pretty clear that “the plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty” (Proverbs 21:5) and that we’re called to “press toward the goal” of following God’s plan for our lives (Philippians 3:14).
So setting goals is a great idea—as long as you’re doing it right
The problem is, a lot of people have no idea how to set goals for themselves. Instead of setting goals that will work, they do the opposite—and then wonder what happened. (Read why it's important to set goals . . . and how to start!).
Take a look at these five steps to set the wrong goals. Do any of them sound familiar? If you want to set goals that work, make sure you don’t follow these steps:
Be as general as possible.
No need for specifics. In fact, the more loosey-goosey your goals, the more open they are to interpretation. Maybe your goal wasn’t to learn a new language this year. Maybe it was to simply watch a few foreign language films with subtitles. Surely some of the language will sink in.
Don’t worry about gauging success.
Since you really want to reach your goals this year, you’ll have no problems making them happen organically. There’s no need to plan or make a list of action steps. Why be so hard on yourself? If you’re truly meant to reach a goal, it will just happen, right?
Time limit, schmime limit.
Again, why are you making things so difficult? What difference does it make if it takes three months or three years to pay off your debt? No debt is no debt. Never mind that the faster you pay it off, the sooner you can move on to saving and investing. Who wants that hassle?
Be sure you’re making others happy.
If you’re really gung-ho about your goals this year, make sure you include a goal your spouse wants you to reach. Or, set one your mom, dad, brother or sister thinks will make your life better. And you can ensure your success by telling that person you’ve set their goal for yourself. That way they can nag you about it every time they see you. That’s built-in accountability!
Don’t bother to write anything down.
Who wants to take the chance of finding your list of goals six, eight or 10 months later? You’ll just be disappointed in yourself that you haven’t made any progress. It’s much better to simply forget about them in a couple of weeks.
Now you know how to set the wrong goals. . .so learn how to get started setting the right ones!