Singer and businessman Jimmy Dean once said: “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” The country sage was referring to an important, but often ignored, subject — setting and achieving personal goals.
The value of goals cannot be overstated. In a recent study, Gail Matthews, a psychologist at Dominican University of California, confirmed what was long suspected: Goal setters accomplish more. At the core of Matthews’ study were three elements, accountability, commitment and the act of writing down one’s goals.
On a personal note, I can back Matthews’ claim. I attended a community college in Washington state right out of high school, not because of a carefully crafted plan, but because my parents expected me to. I then moved to Nevada and spent the next 12 years working in the hospitality industry. Again, this was not as a result of some grand design, rather, I answered a recruitment ad in the newspaper.
Both experiences were invaluable but somewhat random. It took the death of my father to get me, at age 33, to examine my life and set specific goals.
For me, the answer was education. I went back to college, earned two degrees and rediscovered a lifelong passion for teaching and learning. Now I’m in my 10th year as a college professor, teach at an excellent school, and, best of all, my job never feels like “work.”
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