Answer For My Son: Why Do I Send You My Goals?

The Power of Setting Goals

Setting Goals

I believe in the importance of setting goals, and I have set goals for myself every year since 1966.  Fourteen years ago, when my son was 15 and my daughter 10, I began asking them to also take a few days before the New Year to set goals.  I modeled the importance of goal-setting by emailing them a copy of my own goals.  And as a true believer in the power of goals, I have also required my CPSi students to set goals at the beginning of each year to help them take charge of their education and their well-being.

Two days before the 2012 New Year, in a too-brief one-on-one with my son, our conversation turned to the topic of goals. He has become an avid goal-setter himself, so I was completely dumbfounded when he said to me, “Dad, I never understood the purpose of you sending a copy of your goals to me and the family.”  Before I had a chance to respond, we were interrupted, and that unfinished conversation has been nagging at me ever since.  I thought my reasons were obvious.

Two weeks later, while reading a discussion of motivation in Andrew Clancy’s The Success Gurus, I gained clarity on the answer to my son’s implied question.  Clancy references studies on motivation, goals, and performance by scholars such as Dr. Teresa Amabile of Harvard Business School.  Clancy reports that many behavioral scientists have found a direct correlation between motivation, goal-setting, and achievement.  He concludes that motivated people autonomously set goals to self-direct, to learn by gaining new knowledge, and to achieve increasingly better results that translate into happiness and rewards.

Although I never articulated the reasons so clearly, I have always believed in the power of setting goals to give my life continual purpose; to seek new knowledge; to fuel my growth; to learn; and to devote myself to becoming better at things that matter; to achieve.  I believe that in doing so I will enrich my mind and be rewarded well.

Answering The Question

What does all of this have to do with my son’s implied question?

My son, I forwarded my goals to you to give you the courage and freedom to set goals that would give the next 12 months of your life even greater meaning and purpose; to learn and to grow; to achieve; to be recognized; and to receive rewards and respect as a result of continually improving yourself and contributing to your community.

This is also the underlying reason that I help my CPSi students to take charge of their academics, their behavior, and their college decisions through setting goals annually.

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