by Mark Timm, CEO Ziglar Family
Your family’s well-being is at the top of your priority list, and you’ve committed to doing all that you can to make yours a successful family that thrives.
You recognize that you can’t hit a target you don’t have, so you’ve taken steps to identify and create some targets. (I shared a great tool for assessing your family’s strengths and weaknesses in last week’s blog post).
You know where you are starting from—where you can improve as a family—and now it’s time to make some decisions about both where you want to go and how you want to get there. It’s time to set and achieve specific goals, each of which will move you forward on the journey to becoming a family that thrives.
Mr. Zig Ziglar said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
Once you’ve identified your family’s goals—areas to improve upon, dreams to shoot for, good habits to set or bad habits to break—you want to be sure you’re setting yourselves up for the best chance of success.
Your first step, of course, is to write the goals down. If you took the Ziglar Family Wheel of Life assessment I shared last week, then you know which of the 7 areas of life are the strongest for your family, and which areas need some attention. You definitely don’t have to attack all 7 at once; maybe one goal at a time is all your family can handle right now. Don’t get overwhelmed–just pick an area or two that you know you can start with, and write down a related goal.
The next step is to evaluate each goal to determine if it is, as Mr. Ziglar said, “properly set.”
That’s where knowing your goal-setting ABCs comes in. I want to make this goal setting process so incredibly easy that you can use it again and again to achieve goals of all sizes.
The ABCs are three questions that will help you evaluate whether or not the goals you are setting for your family are good ones. So, once you’ve written down any goal, ask yourself these three questions:
A: Can you ACT on it?
Is it something you and your family can do, or have some level of control over? For example, if your goal is to win the lottery, that’s not really something you have any control over. Sure, you can buy a ticket, but there really is nothing you can do to select winning numbers, so that’s not the kind of goal that would help your family thrive.
But if your goal was to eat one meal with your family every week, that’s something you can do.
Make sure your goal is specific enough that you know what exactly you must do to achieve it. For example, if your goal is to be financially successful someday, that isn’t going to help you know exactly what to do when the next paycheck comes.
A more specific, focused goal would be to get out of debt by paying at least $100 more than the minimum payment on your credit card, or something similar. Paying $100 extra is something you can measure to see whether or not you actually hit the target for that goal.
B: Do you BELIEVE in your goal?
By believe I mean two things. You want to be sure that your goals align with your family’s beliefs, values, and purpose. If they do align, you and your family can put your hearts into achieving them. If not, there’s going to be a disconnect that will keep you from ever being motivated to get there.
For example, if attending church on Sunday is important to your family, and you’ve set a goal that requires you to skip Sunday church services on a regular basis, you’re going to have a problem.
Or if your goal is to make a million dollars in income, but your family values investing a lot of time serving those in need, you may have conflicting priorities.
The other thing I mean when I ask if you believe in your goal is this: your goal must be conceivable to you. You don’t need to know exactly how you are going to accomplish it, but you do need to see a possible path for getting there. If you really can’t imagine how accomplishing the goal could ever be done, you probably won’t actually do anything about it.
For example, if you are deep in financial debt right now, and you just lost your job, then it may not be a wise idea to set a goal of traveling around the world with your family. There’s no way you would even start to try to fulfill that goal because it is not believable for you.
For now, a more believable goal might be to find another job or means of income, then get debt free, then set a goal to plan a trip around the world. Make sure that whatever goal you set, you believe in it.
C: Will you COMMIT to your goal?
What I mean is will you commit to getting it done within a certain timeframe – today, this week, Sunday, next month, by the end of this year – you get the idea. You really can’t commit to doing something without a deadline to back it up. Otherwise, your deadline will always be “Someday…”
It has been said that whatever doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done.
I know a lot of us will work hard to keep commitments we’ve made to our bosses, our friends, and others, yet we quickly break our commitments to ourselves and our families. Integrity demands that you only make goals for your family that you intend to keep, and then actually keep them.
Now, some goals should and will be long-term goals, like getting out of debt by the end of the year or saving for your retirement. But most goals will have a shorter timeframe, such as paying an extra $100 on that credit card balance this month.
The long-term goals will give you and your family something to shoot for over time, but the daily or weekly goals will let your family experience some wins and generate some momentum and enthusiasm for the process.
Finally, when talking about whether or not you are committed to your goal, are you emotionally invested in it? Are you all-in to see it get done? If you and your family really don’t care if it gets done or not, you’re probably not going to put much effort into it.
Walt Disney knew a thing or two about getting things done, and he said, “Everyone works better with a deadline.”
Your goals do not need to be extravagant. In fact, the simpler the better.
Mr. Ziglar’s good friend Joe Sabah said (and Zig often repeated), “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.”
Just get started, and get comfortable with evaluating your goals according to these simple ABCs, and your family’s journey to success will be well underway.