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You gotta set your goals

by HARVEY MACKAY
| October 16, 2022 1:00 AM

During game three of the 1932 World Series, baseball great Babe Ruth made a gesture seen in photographs around the country. With a count of two strikes, Ruth pointed toward center field. On the next pitch, Babe hit a home run into the stands exactly where he had pointed.

The Babe didn't mind the pressure. He put it on himself by making a commitment in front of thousands of fans and accomplishing it.

Announcing goals publicly was nothing new to Babe Ruth. He also made a bold prediction in 1920 that he would be the first player in professional baseball to hit 50 home runs after he set a record of 29 home runs the previous season. One scribe wrote: "(W)ise baseball men tapped themselves on the head, winked an eye and said that Babe was cuckoo in the attic." Ruth went on to hit 54 home runs that year and 60 in 1927.

I have found that one of the most effective incentives to succeed comes when you announce your goals publicly. This is why I tell a lot of my friends what my goals are to put pressure on myself to achieve them. In effect, you call your own shots.

I also found that keeping my goals constantly in front of my eyes helps me achieve them. I often write down my goals and tape them to my mirror, nightstand, refrigerator, steering wheel or anywhere else that I can see them.

When I was writing "Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," I put a note inside my hat to write a New York Times bestseller.

It worked for Babe Ruth and for me. It's worked for many successful folks — here are some of their stories.

Muhammad Ali, who is widely regarded as one of the most significant sports figures of the 20th century and is frequently ranked as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time, famously said, "I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was."

Demi Lovato tweeted in 2010 "One day, I'm gonna sing the national anthem at a Super Bowl." Ten years later, she achieved her goal at the 2020 Super Bowl.

Actor Jim Carrey carried in his wallet a $10 million check he wrote himself for "acting services rendered" in 1985 and dated it for 10 years in the future.

Earl Nightingale, one of the first motivational authors I read when I was starting out, said, "People with goals succeed because they know where they're going." His book "The Strangest Secret" is a classic.

And remember this gem from New York Yankee great Yogi Berra: "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else."

Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books said: "By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands."

Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, found that people who write their goals down are 42% more likely to achieve them.

Goals serve as a stimulus to life. They help us focus, and they remind us what we're working toward. Without goals, there is no purpose, and without purpose, there will be no significant accomplishments.

Mackay's Moral: Goals determine your thoughts — thoughts determine your life.

• • •

Harvey Mackay is the author of the New York Times bestseller "Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive." He can be reached through his website, www.harveymackay.com, by emailing harvey@mackay.com or by writing him at MackayMitchell Envelope Co., 2100 Elm St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414.

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