• Alan Shoebridge

The power of setting goals


I realize that saying goals are important is an almost painful statement of the obvious, but please indulge me for a second. Although I’ve always believed in setting personal and professional goals, until recently I never fully understood how powerful they can be.

As I’ve written about a few times this year, I feel and broke my ankle in January. While I was waiting to get out of my cast and begin physical therapy, I set one major goal for myself, getting back to “normal,” which for me meant accomplishing three primary objectives: 1. driving a car; 2. walking without assistance; and, 3. riding my bicycle. Living in Portland, that third one is almost a mandatory requirement of residency.

The objectives were a bit tricky as the timeline to accomplish each one was uncertain; however, identifying the strategies to get there were relatively simple: Making sure I went to my rehab sessions, doing my daily exercises and just being patient. The last one was probably the most difficult for me to accept and consistently follow through on.

Measuring my objectives was also simple, and required me to evaluate whether I was doing those three activates to a degree I felt was complete and returned me to feeling “back to normal.” Being able to drive came first and opened up my world again, which felt great. Somewhat surprisingly, riding my bike at a fairly normal effort level without looking ridiculous – I’m talking about riding form here, not style, as all bicycling clothing by definition looks ridiculous – came before walking.

I’m walking without assistance now, but not normally quite yet. I would call that objective 80 percent accomplished. However, I reflect a lot about how disappointed I would be today if that had been the sole objective I set for myself to accomplish at the start of my journey. Being able to drive and ride a bike felt like tremendous accomplishments that I could check off on my path to the ultimate goal.

I’ve always felt strongly that having a clear goal and measurable objectives is the success to any marketing effort, but now I believe even more strongly than ever about their power and value. Here are a few brief closing thoughts on goals that are an excellent reminder of their purpose in your personal and professional lives:

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” —Pablo Picasso

“Goals. There’s no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There’s no telling what you can do when you believe in them. And there’s no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” —Jim Rohn

“I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.” —Michael Phelps


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