Reinvent Yourself - Set Goals!
Why set goals?
It’s that time of year when you may be thinking about changes you would like to make in your life - some things you would like to accomplish. It's a time when many are comtemplating resolutions and goals. Goal setting is a helpful tool to propel you forward. People who consistently move towards their goals are found to be more satisfied with their lives than those who just ‘ride the wave’. In the words of the famous motivational speaker and author, Zig Ziglar, “You can choose to set goals and realize your potential. Or you can choose not to set them.”
How to select goals?
Start by selecting a goal that’s meaningful to you. Suggestions for goal focuses can include making improvements in your social life and significant relationships, career, financial status/debt reduction, health and lifestyle, spiritual growth, and education to name a few. Find what would add the most value to your life and focus on that. If there are numerous changes you would like to make in your life, start by focusing on just 2 or 3. Which ones will have the greatest impact on improving the quality of your life?
In evaluating the value of your goal, ask yourself if this goal is a worthwhile goal. Does it cause harm to others? Pick goals that will lead to betterment of your life as well as others lives.
There is value in using your imagination to help you move towards your goal. Spend time picturing yourself as if the goal has already been accomplished. How will it benefit you? How do you see yourself in light of accomplishing that goal? Next, get very specific about your goal. Think about the various impacts it will have on your life and then write those outcomes down. Studies show that people who make the effort to write down their goal are much more likely to accomplish it. Successful people are goal setters.
Identify the pay offs for achieving this goal
Go into detail - describe what fulfillment of that goal will look like and feel like.
Identify obstacles to the goal
Know that there will be obstacles. (Don’t let obstacles discourage you - if there were no obstacles you would probably have already accomplished this goal!) Write down the obstacles.
One obstacle some people find in setting goals/visualizing themselves as successful are feelings of unworthiness. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches us that there is a correlation between our feelings, behaviors and thoughts. In other words, if you want to feel differently about yourself it’s important to practice positive self talk and positive behaviors. The idea of “act as if you feel successful’ has merit.
Identify resources to help you overcome these obstacles
Would a class or a support group give you helpful tools? Do you need more knowledge to accomplish your goal? Perhaps reading books or taking a class would be in order. Who do you need to talk to? It’s helpful to find a mentor who has accomplished what we would like to accomplish. There is no need to ‘reinvent the wheel’. Education and information have never been more accessible than they are in our current world of technology. Counseling can also be helpful as a tool to get support in overcoming emotional obstacles.
Create your action plan
This starts with a deadline date. Work backwards on this one.If your goal is to lose 20 pounds in the next 6 months, your monthly goal is 3-4 pounds of weight loss. Write down what you need to do to create that outcome. If it’s to save $1200 in 6 months, you want to put $200 each month into savings. What do you need to do each month, each week, each day? Be clear with your intentions. There is a strong correlation between goal clarity and achieving goals.
Review your progress frequently.
Set up reminders for yourself to evaluate how you are doing. Are you staying on track? If not, what action do you need to take now? Revise your goals as needed to ensure they still ‘fit’.
Setting goals and being proactive are keys to improved mood, improved self esteem and confidence. Live a life that is true to your values, rich in meaning and contentment. Make this the year to do it!