A lesson about goals:
Freshman year of high school, the women’s tennis coach at Texas A&M University told me to write down my goals and put them somewhere where I will see them every day and be reminded of them.
My doubles partner and I had recently been ousted in the second round of the regional tennis tournament and while I was just a freshman, I was secretly very disappointed that we didn’t win regional’s that year—that I wasn’t going to the state tennis tournament. And I wanted to go to state.
From the day I came home from Texas A&M tennis camp to the day I packed up my bedroom to head to college, I had a piece of paper taped to my bathroom mirror that read “You’re Going To State!” in bright bubble letters written with magic marker.
Over the course of the next two years I got involved in competitive tennis tournaments with the United States Tennis Association and trained during my free time to improve my fitness, my endurance and my tennis skill set. I won the regional singles title my junior year, which earned me my first trip to the state tournament.
The unique feeling of accomplishment set in as I walked off the court of the regional final–not because I had won, or even because I was going to state. It was because I reached the goal I had set out and worked hard to achieve.
Freshman year of college, I fell in love with learning. I had not had that experience in high school—the enjoyment and appreciation of learning. However, my first semester was enlightening and I learned to embrace curiosity. After making all A’s during my first semester of college, I knew that it would be a reasonable goal to achieve a perfect grade point average during my undergraduate studies.
I tackled this goal one semester at a time. My second semester wasn’t so bad, but when sophomore year rolled around my classes started to get a little tougher. I think back to two or three classes in my college career where I was tempted to sabotage my grade in order to shatter the pressure involved with keeping the straight A streak alive (in those particular classes it would not have taken much effort). However, even in the classes that I was confident that I was going to come short of that A in, I still somehow managed to come through in the last weeks of class.
Sometimes I reflect on my role as a college student and wonder–How did I do it? I didn’t even make straight A’s in high school. But I have come to realize the answer: I didn’t give up—even when it was tempting. And I didn’t lower my standard of excellence—even when the pressure was difficult to bear.
I know you and I have our differences. You have different passions, different dreams. You are your own person. But no matter how you approach life, committing yourself and bringing all of yourself to whatever you do is essential.
Goal-making has been a game changer in my life–And as you know, I am currently living and breathing a product of another goal in progress. I hope you allow it to be a game changer in your life.
As you prepare to step into a thrilling new chapter of your young life, I want to encourage you to be a goal-maker. Write them down. Put it on your mirror; in your binder; above your bed. Writing these goals down is like making a commitment to yourself.
And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. [Habakkuk 2:2-3]