“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” (Andrew Carnegie) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack was writing about New Year’s resolutions and setting your goals for the New Year.
We went through goal setting for the New Year at my work office back in December and I can remember the years of annual goal setting exercises that I went through at various technology companies that I work for back then. While they might have commanded my attention and thoughts for a while and certainly required my energy, they never really inspired my hopes. If anything the achievement of those goals might have served as an enabling step towards achieving my hopes.
I suppose that one might aspire to be the CEO of whatever company they work for some day, but that is difficult to envision that if you are driving a forklift in one of the many warehouses of that company. Some might have hopes of having their own company someday, but perhaps that is more of a dream than a real hope. There’s a fine line between hopes and dreams. I suspect that most people’s hopes are centered more on life goals than on work goals.
Jack also wrote about a little acronym that he came across for making good resolutions – S-M-A-R-T. S-be Specific! M-make it Measurable. A-be sure it’s Attainable. R-be Realistic. T-set a Timetable. I wrote recently about resolutions, too. One thing not in the SMART acronym that I had in my post was to make yourself accountable for achieving the resolution by sharing it with an accountability partner and doing regular status checks.
I may hope for the end to world hunger, but the SMART thing to do is to work in a local food bank or serve in a soup kitchen. Am I achieving my hope of the end to hunger in the world? Yes, at least in the small part of the world that I can directly impact. Maybe there is more that I can do to collect money or food for use in other parts of the world and the energy that is liberated by my hopes will find a way to do some of that, too. You see how that hope may command your thoughts.
If you have hopes for finding the right person to spend your life with, I think hopes also need to be proactive and action oriented and not reactive and defensive. You are much more likely to be successful if your start out with the positive attitude that says “I’m going to be open and friendly with those that I meet in hopes of finding Mr./Ms. Right”, than it is to start out by saying” I’m going to be cautious and guarded around others so that I don’t take the change of getting hurt”.
So, what inspires your hopes? Is it all about you, or do you find that making the lives of others better too is in your hopes somewhere? Are your “hopes” really just big pipe dreams or are they SMART? It’s OK to have BIG hopes, so long as you can see how to break them down into manageable and SMART steps that you can work on a little at a time.
When was the last time you really sat quietly and thought about your hopes? What’s wrong with right now, as long as you’re already thinking about it? What are you hoping for? What’s the SMART way to achieve those hopes? What are you waiting for?