Dr. Val Farmer
Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

Some Thoughts About Goals

January 10, 2005

The importance of goals. We have great power within us, once we have set our goals and choose a course of action.

Goals have great power to unify couples, families, businesses, citizens, congregations, organizations and people in a common cause.

Striving and sustaining effort toward worthwhile goals is the stuff life is built around. Without goals, without work, life becomes meaningless.

Without goals, vision or purpose, we are susceptible to depression, boredom or dissipation of time and energy.

We need hope to sustain ourselves. We need to nourish our hope until all hope is gone. We need to grieve and mourn our losses and then find something else to hope for. Life has more in store for us. Each day is a gift. We need to search and find new hope.

When old dreams die, new dreams take their place. God pity the "one dream" person.

Choose goals that are worthy of you. We are actors, creators, creatures of desire and capable of great energy. We need to marshal that energy and desire toward goals that ennoble ourselves and benefit others. Pleasure and happiness are by-products of well-lived lives and goals unto themselves. Don’t be distracted or sell yourself short by enticements and blandishments that have no lasting value. Make each day count.

Getting there. Goals without action steps are just dreams. Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Most failure is the failure to begin.

Persistence, not talent, is the main factor in success.

Once you have made your decision and laid out you plans, execute, execute, execute your plan.

If the pathway to our goal is blocked, we need to find a different way or revise our goal.

Enlist the powers of heaven in your behalf. Pray over your life and your endeavors. We are on earth to grow and develop, to fulfill the measure of our creation, to be what we are capable of becoming. God wants us to seek Him out, find Him and to make Him a partner in our eternal journey of life. There are times when we need inspiration and assistance from above.

The dangers of goals. Goals are stars to steer by, not sticks to beat yourself up with.

When things happen to disrupt your life and make your goals disappear or seem impossible, it is important to shorten up your horizon and work for short term goals until the bigger picture comes into focus. "One day at a time" and finding pleasure in the moment are good coping strategies when trying to assimilate losses or when the future appears bleak or uncertain.

If you chase two rabbits at the same time, both with get away. Too many goals at the same time are self-defeating.

Goals can be too compelling. Life is meant to be lived in balance. People are more important than things. Rearing children is our most important responsibility. Loving, giving and serving others are needed antidotes to a self-serving and self-centered lifestyle. Love in marriage can bring great joy. There is joy in posterity. No success can compensate for failure in the home.

Leisure, rest, recreation, a change of pace, exposure to new experience and new ideas, arousal, fun, relaxation are all gifts of renewal and are necessary for better work.

There is boredom and tedium to life. Do the routine as well as the daunting. Face problems head on. Pay attention to detail. Look heavenward and then outward at the forest, then look at the trees.

Be open to change. Life is what happens to us as we make other plans. Uninvited stress, suffering and setbacks are often the spurs to growth we can’t and wouldn’t seek out for ourselves.

Once you have set your course, then new information will jump out at you, new experiences will have relevance. Ideas will have relevance. It seems like the very Universe is conspiring to help you along the way.

We are unique with a unique divine destiny to fulfill. All experiences can be stepping stones to greater success if we learn from them. Our true talents, gifts and energy become clear to us as we add experience to experience and learn from them. Be open to an entirely new vision of yourself and what you can become as life dislodges your hopes and aspirations.

If you have an idea, an inspired thought, or a flash of insight, write it down and act on it within a day or two or it will disappear.

Losing track. Each day is sufficient to itself. The only time we have is now. Do the important things first. Not everything is important. We vote with our eyes and our attention the things we choose to bring into our life. The precious gift of attention is the only freedom that can truly not be taken away. Our attitude is a citadel and a fortress that cannot be breached except by our consent.

Be careful of rationalizations. Be true to yourself. We lose track of our true goals by laziness, fear, vanity, or misplaced priorities. Live the life your really want to live instead of the following the easy path or the path others want you to take.

You are not alone. Join forces with others who share your values and goals. Seek out help and assistance in your journey of life. Allow others to help you. Draw and learn from them. There is power in synergy. Life is not a "do it yourself" project.