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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Create SMART Goals


Repetition deepens impression - it is often said - ‘but too much causes confusion.’ Within the world of sports, fanatics and pundits alike will stress that goals win matches. You may too have heard the cliché – ‘if you fail to plan than you plan to fail.’ But I'm sure you have heard the word "goal" more often than you can remember. You have heard this term used in hockey, soccer, and football. You've heard it used in national programs and policies, fund raising, politics, and even in peace keeping missions. This concept though may not just remain in the realms of sports and culture, but find usefulness in the lifespan of an individual.
Most dictionaries define the term ‘goal’ as: a point marking an end; the object of effort; or ambition; a destination. One author, however, defines it in this fashion: "A specific measureable occurrence, object or accomplishment that he would like to achieve, or obtain in the future. One where he develops concrete action plans to take him to a particular point and what he wants in the future." Amidst all of that, what does a ‘goal’ really mean in your own life?
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Well, for the typical adolescent, their goals are to complete high school, get a university degree, land a good job or start their own business, have a wonderful family with 2.3 children, a dream house, prestige vehicle, and enjoy regular holidays and vacation. And then the alarm goes off and it’s time to get out of bed and start another day.
A typical day for a student at Northern Caribbean University (NCU) often flows with rich blessing, starting off with prayer – with a goal. When a student allows the Master of the World to be the Master of the mind, then the first goal of accomplishing mission impossible will be unlocked. Each student is charged to be prepared not just for this world, but for the world to come. NCU prepares the whole man. A ‘perfect’ social being without intellect is flawed, or a ‘perfect’ intellectual person spiritual adhesive is just as flawed. And yes a spiritual being without a social or mental connection is equally flawed.   
Each student is prepared with a mindset that life at NCU ought to remain in the hands of the Creator. Each is a uniquely, magnificently created being with a mind that can only be understood by He in whose image each is made. The paradigms within the realm of tertiary education are constantly evolving. Acquisition of a liberal arts education remains the most desired goal to be achieved, with its holistic transformational approach to equipping graduates for service within this very dynamic world.
Look at large corporations, for example, they do not let their business just unfold as it may. Corporations set strategic goals. They identify where they want to be. They develop detailed action plans that identify the steps that each department needs to implement and accomplished to help get them there. They set time frames to accomplish each component of their action plan, usually on a yearly basis.
On the contrary though, if you were to investigate unsuccessful corporations, you would find, in many cases, that their planning process was incomplete. When corporations become complacent, when they continue to conduct business without planning for the future, you can be assured that their longevity and survival is threatened. Why? Because their competitors, who plan for the future, will soon overtake and surpass them thus contributing to their eventual failure.
You can set a direct course for your future by defining your goals, or you can take the opposite position and just let the future haphazardly unfold by itself. It is my prediction, however, that those who set goals, along with a clear and precise action plan, will accomplish more in their lifetime than those who are willing to let life progress with little focus, and misdirected action.  
Create SMART goals – make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Dream big, reach for the skies, but in all of this goal rush, reach for the Keeper of the goals. According to a former warrior, turned crusader in talking about the art of goal oriented mission, ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12: 1-2).’