If you had one wish, what would it be? It’s fun to imagine the possibilities. Most of us would choose something that we think would bring us happiness, which leads me to the next question. What makes you happy? Is it the thought of more money? A big house? Looking ten years younger? It may shock you to find out that these things really don’t bring us the pleasure that we think they will.
The field of positive psychology, a discipline that investigates what leads to happiness, has made a surprising discovery. Studies have shown that contentment and meaning in life are not achieved by winning the lottery or being young and beautiful. Instead, one source of happiness comes from the pursuit and attainment of goals.
Goals give new meaning to everything you do. Something that may be thought of as routine or mundane takes on new purpose when it is leading you one step closer to attaining a goal.
Goals give your life focus and clear direction. Those who don’t regularly set goals find themselves drifting through life, reacting to whatever comes their way. They base their decisions and actions on what their circumstances are at the present, not on what they hope to accomplish in the future. One day they find that days have turned into years and they’re so far off course that they can’t even remember the dreams they once had for their lives.
To make a lasting change or to achieve anything meaningful in your life requires knowing where you need to go and how you are going to get there. That is a goal. Every day, we choose whether the actions of that day are going to bring us closer to who we want to be and where we want to go, or further away.
Japanese carp grow according to the size of their environment. If they are kept in a small body of water, they reach full growth at two to four inches long. However, if they are placed in a larger tank, they can increase to many times that size.
Your goals determine your actions and habits. Your actions and habits determine your environment. The Japanese carp has no control over what kind of environment it is placed in, therefore it has no control over how large it will grow. However, we are free to overcome our limitations and live out our dreams, if we have the wisdom to set goals and the discipline to follow through.
Many people lack the understanding of what goals actually are, and that lack of understanding has prevented them from setting them. Some of you may have made a goal list in the past but, because you did not achieve what you aimed for, you didn’t repeat the process for fear of failing again. I understand completely. The worst kind of failure is failure to keep one’s word or commitment to one’s self.
A well structured goal list can only be made with a lot of forethought; otherwise it will only be a wish list. Those goals will remain a wish list unless you set a deadline and have an action plan for the completion of those goals.
A goal without a deadline is a wish, because there is no call to action to make the goal a reality.
Remember, if you shoot for the moon and land on a star—you are still on higher ground! For example, if you want your practice to double from $20,000 in collections per month to $40,000 in collections per month and you are only collecting $36,000 per month at the end of your deadline, don’t count this as a failure. Be assured, you have accomplished growth as a direct result of your efforts and your goals.
Challenge yourself to set goals and commit yourself to following through. A well thought out list of goals, an action plan, and a made up mind are crucial components in achieving the happiness and success that you are seeking for your life and practice.
Tom Owen III, President of AMC, lectures extensively from coast-to-coast to thousands of chiropractors and students annually. He is the author of Chiropractic from a Business Man’s Perspective, and has spent the last 25 years in the day-to-day trenches of the chiropractic profession. He lives by his quote that "In the end, all that is left are the lives we’ve touched and to what extent they were changed."
Dr. Osborne, a 1989 graduate of Palmer College, ran a successful high volume multiple doctor practice, and is currently Vice President of AMC, Inc., as well as an author and lecturer. Visit www.amcfamily.com or call (877) AMC-7117 for more information.