Setting Personal Goals

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Much has been said and written in recent years about the value of goal setting and the importance of guiding our lives toward certain predetermined objectives. This process has taken on many of the aspects of an exact science. It has found expression in the world of education in the form of behavioral objectives, and in the corporate and industrial world it manifests itself in a "management-by-objective" philosophy. Some individuals feel that unless each hour of each day is programmed to achieve specific objectives, life cannot be lived to the fullest, and personal potential is being cheated. In fact, this general notion has become so universally accepted that to question the value of goal setting in the achievement of any public or private enterprise is no longer rational in the general point of view.

Setting goals and objectives to guide one's efforts toward accomplishment is one of the processes of human dynamics that can be demonstrated to yield positive results. It is a process, however, that can also be restricting and limiting when it is distorted or misguided. It is important to hold this process in the right perspective when we seek to understand the principles that lead to human progress.

An important distinction must be made between the potentially confining process of setting goals and objectives and the more encompassing need of having a general purpose in life. This distinction is more than a play on words. One's purpose in life has an overriding influence upon what he does with his time, energy, and resources. It can also have a profound effect upon how he relates to other people. Without this purpose life has no compass. Within the framework of such a purpose, there is an acceptable place for much spontaneity and flexibility. Indeed, without this freedom life can become stilted and sterile, and much of the potential for progressive inspiration and renewal can be thwarted. Unless the goals and objectives an individual works toward are...
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