Where are you going?

Nearly 40 years ago, in October 1969 a great film was released – it was the story of a Michigan farmer and a prospector who in the middle of the 1849 California gold rush form a partnership.

Their adventures include buying and sharing a wife, hijacking a stage, kidnapping six prostitutes, and turning their mining camp into a boomtown.  Along the way, there is plenty of drinking, gambling, and singing. They even find time to do some creative gold mining – the stars were Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood and Jean Seberg and the film was, of course, Paint Your Wagon.

Towards the end of the film, there is a great line from Lee Marvin –

“There’s two kinds of people, them goin’ somewhere and them goin’ nowhere.”

And that’s what’s true.

“Them goin’ somewhere and them goin’ nowhere.”

We are at the start of 2017 – do you know where you’re going this year?

My readers are very mixed – retired, employed, self-employed and unemployed and of course, many cyclists…No matter what you do, you have to know where you are going – otherwise how do you know when you’ve arrived?

It’s called goal setting – and it’s something we all should do but most people have difficulty in differentiating between goals and wishes….

Wishes are easy – I wish to be slimmer; I wish to be fitter; I wish to have more money; I wish to win the Tour de France or even ride the PrudentialRide London 100 in August.

However, unless we take action and make a commitment, those wishes stay exactly that, wishes.

They will never happen, because there’s no motivation to make them happen.  A wish can be defined as a want, a desire a whim or a hope – but a goal is more specific – it is an aim, an intention, a purpose or an objective.

So let’s talk about Goal Setting – setting up some specific aims for 2017

In 1953, Yale University conducted a survey of all their final year students, about what they thought of their time at Yale.  They asked questions on the campus, the lecturers, the courses, the staff, even the food and the halls of residence.

They asked everything they could think of, including what plans the graduates had for the future.

One of the questions was: “Do you have goals?”

10% said Yes – Yes, they did have goals.

The next question was: “If you have goals, have you written them down?”

Only 3% said Yes this time.

Of all that years graduating students, 10% said that they had goals and 3% said that they’d written their goals down.

In 1973, they repeated the exercise, with all the current crop of graduating students.  And someone came up with the idea of including all those who had filled in the first questionnaire, 20 years previously.

It took a while to find them all – some were dead, some were in prison, but they managed to contact most of them and asked them to answer the questions on how life had treated them in the 20 years since they graduated.

They found, that the 10% who had goals had done a bit better than average.  They had achieved some of them, maybe not all of them, but at least some of them.

However, the 3% who had written their goals down and who had committed to their goals, had achieved all of them!

They were secure in their lives, they contributed more to their communities, they seemed to be happier and have more stable family lives and they were financially better off.

The frightening part, was, that the 3% who had written their goals down, were worth more that the other 97% put together!  The points are:

1) Goals Work

2) Almost Nobody uses them.

3) 97% of the population is helping the other 3% achieve their goals.

So my question to you is – do you want to be in the 97% or the 3%?

So, is the secret just writing you goals down? I don’t think that’s the full answer, however, I’ll come back to that shortly….

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