Growing up, Sunday meant church, family time, a roast with potatoes and carrots for dinner, and every once in awhile, a Sunday drive. On those Sundays when my parents felt so inclined, they would load my three brothers and one sister into the family station wagon and we would go Sunday driving (it was the 70s, so everyone had station wagons, ours was green with wood paneling).
I grew up in Boise, Idaho. Both my mom and dad also grew up in Boise. This meant that the drives on Sunday were usually a drive down memory lane. They would point out the schools they attended, the homes they used to live in, the playgrounds where they used to play, and any other little piece of nostalgia that came up along the way. As a 10-year-old boy the stop I hated above all else was when my dad would pull the car to the side of the road, point out a specific lamp post and say, “Kids, this is where I used to kiss your mother.” At that point in my life, girls were something to be chased at recess but never kissed. Although I knew my dad had some responsibility to kiss my mom, I really didn’t want to hear about it.
On our Sunday drives my parents were in sheer bliss. As kids, we were in utter misery. We had no idea where we’re going, and cared little about getting there. We were bored and tired and the only thing we really look forward to was getting home. The sooner it was over the better.
Conversely, every summer meant a summer vacation. We couldn’t wait. My dad would throw the same five kids in the same green, wood paneled station wagon and we were filled with vigor and excitement. It didn’t matter if we left at ten at night or four in the morning, we were literally giddy. The whole way we were singing. We would sing the Hall family song, “We are the Halls, the Stephen J. Halls, wherever we go, people want to know, who we are, so we tell ’em,” or some version of, “99 bottles of (milk) on the wall” (Being Mormon, we didn’t sing about beer very often.)
What changed? It was the same kids in the same car. How could we be miserable Sunday driving then ecstatic on our way to our summer vacation. The difference was the destination.
En route to our summer vacation we knew where we were going and were excited to get there. Goals that are specific, written down and measurable help us define the destinations in our lives. They help us know where we are going and motivate us to be excited to get their. When we have goals that we have set up properly, keeping ourselves accountable all the way, we not only become driven but we allow that drive to take us all the way to our dreams.
Then, with goals clearly set and destination known we find ourselves excited even giddy about every day. Regardless of our start or how far we have to go we are filled with vigor and joy, singing all the way.