Your future, the way your life will become, is depending solely on yourself and the actions you will take in your life. You, and you alone are responsible for shaping your life in the way you want it to go, no one and nothing else will be responsible for it. When you were a student in school your teacher told you each day what to do to get good results and later contribute to society in a positive way, at your job your boss tells you each day what to do, and then expects good results to enrich the company’s profits, however when it comes to your own life it is up you to give yourself a set of expectations to improve your own life, as well as the lives of those around you, and continually grow in every way.
Do you know in this very moment what exactly you want to achieve in your life? If you don’t, how will you know if and when you achieved it? The difference between dreams and goals is that dreams are only thoughts, while goals have step-by-step plans on how to achieve the end result. Everything that came into existence started as a simple thought in someone’s mind. In your mind today are all the plans, dreams, and ideas for your future: who you want to become, where you want to be, what you will achieve, how you will enrich your own life and the lives of those around you.
Remember however that since we are all interconnected, each decision you will take, each plan you will decide to pursue or even more important not pursue, will have a positive or negative impact on the people in your surroundings. Just think for a moment: you are today here in this room, listening to these words, because somewhere, someone had a thought of enriching the lives of others by giving a lecture, and as that thought became reality, now, at this very moment your own life will be impacted because of that one thought. We are all interconnected, and all that we do or don’t do will affect others, so therefore let your plans be wise, serving the good of humanity, and making a positive difference in your own and in others lives.
Do not give up if something will be difficult, or will not go your way, because your character is not shaped in times when everything goes as planned, but rather in times of adversity, when nothing goes as you want it to be, when you have to find alternative ways of achieving your goals, at times when perseverance, diligence and determination will play the biggest role. Use those moments to shape your character, to go on despite difficulties, and do not allow anyone to tell you “This can’t be done”, but instead find a way to achieve your goal. “Go over, go under, go around, or go through, but NEVER give up.”
To achieve goals you must know what it is you want to create in your life. Do not allow your goals to remain only in your thoughts, but rather write them down, for anything that is written down, and in front of our eyes on a daily basis will have a better chance of accomplishing. Reading and re-reading your goals will allow you to pursue and intensively realize them, and also will create an external feeling of urgency: those two traits will not be valid if your goals remain only in the form of just a thought.
So at this moment take a piece of paper and write down 100 goals of what you want to achieve in your life. Your goals should be in various areas of life: personal, professional, education, spiritual, financial, your contribution to society through your God given talents, places you want to visit, people you want to meet, etc. While writing your goals make sure that they only pertain to you, and you alone (“My friend will change and become the person I want her to be” will not be a valid goal, since you do not have any control over others, but only over yourself and your own actions, and so the above is only a wish, however “I will accept my friend just the way she is, and will stop judging her” is a valid goal, since it describes something you can do—start accepting and cease being judgmental). Also, make sure that your goals are SMART:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Timely
Specific—instead of “Someday I will go back to school”, write “I will enroll at … College for the fall semester, and will take the following classes: … ”
Measurable—instead of “I will study some Portuguese” write “I will learn Portuguese until I’ll be able to easily carry on a conversation three months from now”
Attainable—instead of “I’ll fly to the moon for my next vacation” write “I’ll visit Australia two years from today’s date”
Realistic—instead of “I’ll win the lottery and buy that new car I’ve always wanted” write “I’ll save up (specific amount) towards a down payment for my dream car.”
Timely—instead “I’ll work our at the gym eight hours every day, in order to lower my blood pressure by the end of this week” write “I’ll go to the gym three times a week, and lower my blood pressure by the end of next month”
Make sure that your goals can be reached within different time frames: two months, six months, one year, five, ten years. If all your goals can be accomplished within the next three months it only indicates that you are not challenging yourself enough, and would rather play it safe, not wanting to step outside of your comfort zone. Dream big, set goals before yourself that will require lots of work, time, perseverance, determination, diligence. The journey will not be an easy, but I can assure you that it will make your life one that is interesting, happy, and worth living.
Carry your list with you, read it often, and upon accomplishing a goal do not just cross it out (it is not a shopping list, or a daily chores to do), but with a red marker write “Victory” over it. With time you’ll be able to see all the things you’ve achieved in your life up to that point, and that will inspire you, make you see and realize your own value, and it will make you believe in yourself for future endeavors. As soon as you accomplish one goal, immediately write another one at the end of your list, so you will always have a list of 100. This will ensure that your life will always be living in happiness, in giving to yourself and others, that it will never be boring, and that you will continually grow as a person, in each and every way.
Having a goal in front of you, do not contemplate how to realize it from the beginning to end, but rather from the end to the beginning, that way nothing will seem like it is impossible. That way, if for example your goal is to visit Japan, your end to beginning plan will look something like this:
6. I am in the Centrum of Tokyo
5. I am landing at the Tokyo International Airport
4. I am in the airplane on the way to Tokyo
3. I bought a round trip ticket to Tokyo
2. I’ve earned enough money to pay for my trip to Tokyo
1. I took on a part time job to earn money to go on a trip to Japan
Goal: Visit Japan
Setting and reaching goals for your life is not an easy process, it is so much easier just to live the same life day in and day out, where nothing is risked, but also nothing is gained, however I can assure you that in the very moment when you decide to take the first step and reach for a goal, your life will never be the same, and each day will be filled with excitement, joy and happiness. The reward will be much greater than the sacrifice, and your life will be forever transformed. Remember that a mind once stretched will never come back to its original dimensions.
I wish you that on your way to accomplishing your goals you will become a light in your world, a light that will shine brightly on your family, church, city, and even world community, that you will become a positive force of change in the world, of change that will improve the lives of many people in your immediate surroundings and across the globe. It is already within your power, but only you can make the decision to use it. I hope your decision will be “YES.”