Define Your Goals To Achieve The Success You Desire

By R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D.

I always loved to read. That love really took off when I was in the fifth grade in Mrs. Mann’s class. Every day she read us a passage from “Tom Sawyer” and later “Huckleberry Finn.” She continued with the Laura Ingalls Wilder series of books. They included “Little House in the Big Woods,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “On the Banks of Plum Creek,” and “Farmer Boy.” Mrs. Mann’s readings mesmerized me as I put myself in the shoes of this family moving west and repeatedly rebuilding their lives. I visited the Woodsfield and Barnesville libraries and devoured every other book by Wilder that I could find.

Mrs. Mann’ next book, “Big Red,” was written by James Kjelgaard. Once again, I was taken by this literary work. In my two local libraries, I found and was thrilled with “Desert Dog,” “Double Challenge,” “Stormy,” “Snow Dog,” and “Forest Patrol” along with many others. Kjelgaard wrote over 45 books.

The next year I no longer had Mrs. Mann to lead me in my reading selections so I turned to Mom. In response to my request for good books to read, Mom gave me a list of 100 books. I started with the “Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas, a book of about 1,300 pages in two volumes. I moved on to the works of Charles Dickens including “A Tale of Two Cites,” “David Copperfield,” and “Oliver Twist.”

I read Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind” and even “30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary” that Dad gave me. The list continued and I read Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and “Les Miserables.” Of course, I added my own titles from time to time like “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle and any additional Wilder or Kjelgaard books I came across.

With each book, I noted on a log how many pages the book contained, how many days it took me to read it, and the average pages per day that I read. I found that the more excited I was about the book, the more pages I read per day. Also, weather played a factor. I read more pages per day in the winter and fewer in the spring and summer.

I loved to read but I wanted to read good books. Therefore, I sought coaching from Mom as to the best books to read. Seldom did I start a book I didn’t finish. This reading regimen may have been the first goal that I ever set, tracked, and completed. I gained a lot of pleasure and knowledge with the time I committed to reading. It has served me well time and time again.

Today, I still set goals in my business and my personal life. I strongly believe that I owe the success I have had to goal setting. What do you hope to accomplish? What mountain-top experience do you aspire to?

When you define your goals make sure you write them down, set a time frame, share them with your significant others, and keep track of your progress. Writing them down makes them real. The time frame clarifies the do-ability of the goal. Sharing them with others makes you accountable and tracking them gives you a sense of accomplishment along the way.

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