Setting Goals that Stick by Brad Bone

When my twin brother, Justin, and I were 8 years old, my dad decided it would be a good idea to hire us to “chop cotton” for the summer. Chopping cotton actually meant chopping weeds in the cotton fields. It’s one of those jobs they say Americans won’t do, but back then we didn’t know that.

Dad initiated the wage discussions with, “So boys, how much do you think you should get paid?” Being pretty new at business negotiations, I responded with, “I don’t know, probably…one dollar every hour?” So, our wage was agreed upon and we were ready to start our careers.

The plan was that we would walk the first two, quarter mile cotton rows, chopping weeds as we went with our full-size hoes. Then, the best part was that at one end of the field was an irrigation canal, and we were working in 100-degree, California Central Valley heat. After cooling off, we were to turn around and head down rows 3 & 4 and repeat the process until Dad picked us up to take us to the gas station for apple juice and tamales.

I think we spent more time in the canal then the cotton field that summer but we did talk a lot about what we were going to do with all our new wealth. Dad initially had pitched this whole summer work idea as a great way to save for a car someday. That’s where Dad had completely misjudged us. For us, saving for a car may as well have been saving for our great-grandkid’s wedding…it was a non-starter. We, however, had much bigger plans. Super Soaker was coming out with it’s new, double-tanked, air pressured, pump-action water-cannon which came equipped with a carrying strap and adjustable nozzle. We fully intended to own a couple by the time they hit the shelves. We never bought the super soakers because we were 8 and probably got excited about baseball or something else instead, but dreaming about epic water wars got us through that hot summer.

Goals are important, but more important are the right goals. At the beginning of 2017, that same twin brother, Justin, and I were again, discussing goals. We decided we wanted to buy 25 houses that year. This time, WE were the ones who completely misjudged ourselves. At the end of the year after falling short of that goal we realized we had been working towards another, un-stated, but far more motivating goal; get that business operating debt we had racked up throughout 2016, paid off. That goal was met.

We all know the incredible value we can get out of setting goals. But, before throwing something out there just to say we did it, we should take the time to really think about what will motivate us because those are the goals that will stick. Those are the goals worth making.

Super Soaker 200
Photo Credit: http://izismile.com/