Goal Setting Or Goal Getting?Goal Setting Or Goal Getting?

I get upset when I think of the time wasted. I feel almost sick sometimes when I look at old goals, good goals, I had set and done nothing about! Have you ever had this experience? If so, please read on to learn some secrets from a Biblical hero. The lessons revealed truly have changed my life and now I set and get my goals.

Nehemiah: what a powerful goal setting model. We read his story; we watch him accomplish his vision - the vision God placed in his heart. We sit front row and watch him make plans, gain support, and motivate. He demonstrates all the effective goal setting steps. If ever God has given us an example of goal setting and achieving, He did it through Nehemiah.
Nehemiah starts out with a vision; the wall of Jerusalem is rebuilt! He progresses to turning his vision into a personal goal; "I will rebuild the wall of Jerusalem". The precise moment this shift occurs; when he prays, "Please grant me success now as I go to ask the king for a great favor. Put it into his heart to be kind to me."

The king and the Lord respond, "Permission granted".

Now it's on! Nehemiah is no longer burdened, has a desire, or a longing. We have just witnessed his vision transformed into a goal - a God honoring goal. The difference between a burden and a goal is very significant. You can be concerned, and even be brought to tears over scores of things-gone-wrong in our world, and not do a thing about it. Having a burden is somewhat therapeutic, isn't it? It almost feels like we are doing something about it, but we aren't! When you or I have a burden it makes us look Spiritual or compassionate to others, especially when it brings us to tears. I'm not discounting empathy and caring, I am asking us to rise above problem spotting to problem solving. Problem spotters are common. When you hear someone complaining about something-gone-wrong in the world you have found a problem spotter! Now let's consider a few elements of Nehemiah's life and see if we can glean some insight into becoming a goal setting problem solver, shall we?

First, before Nehemiah travels to Jerusalem he asks a wise and prudent question of his king. He asks for resources to accomplish his goal. In turning our vision into a goal we will need to find out what resources are available. You and I might not have the foresight Nehemiah does, nevertheless we will need to ask the question of ourselves, "What resources will I need to achieve success?" Write them down.

Next, when you read the story of Nehemiah from the Bible in the book of Nehemiah you will see that when he arrives in Jerusalem he doesn't tell anyone of his plans to rebuild the walls. First, he slips out with a few others and surveys the work to be done. Only when he has thoroughly inspected the condition of the wall (or lack of wall) does he bring up the subject of rebuilding the walls. Why is this? He needed to align the present reality with his vision to form a starting point. He can not give direction when people ask until he has a clear description of the real present conditions.

So it is with us, we can not move forward without a thorough examination of the reality of our situation. However, once we know what the condition of our life is, we can create the goals and formulate the plans necessary to make our dreams come true. It is just like a "you are here" arrow on the map at the mall. If I don't know where I am, any direction I go may be wrong!

Let me give an example to make sure it's clear that we need to know where we are and what that means. Suppose I have a vision of becoming a great basketball player. I am saying that, "to make the dream of becoming a great basketball player a reality in my life I need to know what is the next step for me". To examine myself, I will find out what some of my statistics are. What is my free throw average? What is my shoot to score ratio? I will test my abilities in all critical game play areas and find my "real" numbers. Only now can I accurately measure my progress. Only now can I set measurable goals in each area. Only now do I know where to start. The same principle applies if I want to rebuild the broken down walls around Jerusalem (or the broken down walls of my life), or any worthy accomplishment. The key question here is, "Where am I right now in relation to this dream?" Write it down.

The next step Nehemiah took was to gather support to accomplish his dream. This is another critical step in goal setting. He persuaded the other officials to join him in his goal of rebuilding the wall, now! Let's do a little review. Before he presented the idea to the officials he:

1. Filled his heart with the vision of a rebuilt wall. This was while he still served the king.
2. Identified and gathered available resources to carry out the plans.
3. Examined the reality of the situation to form a plan to move forward.

I'm guessing by his results that he did the right things. And I'm also guessing that you have done the same things and are ready to move forward, right? We don't want to "mess with success", just follow the patterns laid down for us long ago. The next step he took was to gather support by presenting the idea persuasively to those who would benefit in the success of the project and so were more likely to offer assistance. In my basketball example, who might be able to help? In my case of skill development I would look for someone who is more skilled than I am. In Nehemiah's case, he needed labor (lots of labor), so he looked to the influencers of the local people. What is your situation? Who do you need to present your idea to? To improve my basketball game on my way to becoming a great basketball player, I would present my idea along with the results of my self examination. I would tell my potential supporter what my dream is, what my stats are, show him where I'm practicing and with what ball, and then let him know how he could help me if he so desired. Take a minute to think about how you would present your idea to someone who could offer you support. You will be glad you invested the time.

Lastly, with the help of support, maybe even simply a supportive spouse, you track and evaluate your progress. On the way to success we have to stay on the track!

Robert W. Mann
by Rob Mann
References and Bibliography
Robert W. Mann is the owner of NobleDads.com a resource for personal development from a Christian's perspective. Father of seven children with one on the way! NobledDads on Goals
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