Grab a notebook and a cup of your favorite winter beverage. It's time to set some goals. In years gone by, it's not been one of my stronger suits, but the last few years I've gotten better at it. I've got a little bit of perfectionism in me. Just enough that I'll use it for an excuse for not getting things done. You know, if I can't do it perfectly, why do it at all?
Maybe it's my age - but I'm getting better at setting goals. I learned that when I set them - I at least get something done. Maybe it's just the fact that I am intentional and thoughtful about setting them, but at least I get make some progress. I've come to enjoy setting goals partly because I feel more intentional. Putting in the time to seriously think about goals can be inspirational.
Tips for Goal Setting
I don't think I qualify as a goal-setting guru, but I think there are a few things that are important, even if they are slightly outside the box. Here's my take:
1. Set Goals. It's better to set them than to not have goals at all.
2. Don't use someone else's goals for your own. You may draw inspiration from other people's goals, but you are unique - what works for one may not be fit for all. Make them your own.
3. Be reasonable. Make sure your goals are attainable. You don't want them too vast for you to succeed, but don't make them so easy you can have them all done by the end of next week.
4. Make them measurable. When setting your goals, make sure you will know when you reach them. Use definite terms or numbers.
5. Set different goals in various life arenas. I suggest one goal in each life arena: health/fitness, friends/relationships, spirituality, career, and fun.
The Making of a Goal
Take some time to set your goals. Think about them for a few days. Then write them down. Maybe put them in a journal or notebook. Your yearly goals need to be big - it should take you most of the year to reach them. Each month you can set medium-sized goals that keep you moving toward your yearly goal. Then your weekly goals become smaller, bite-size pieces that you can manage and accomplish.
Many people overlook this structure or try to bypass it. They write down their goals in January, but don't look at them again until December if at all. Refer to them often, at least monthly as you work on your weekly goals.
I am still working on overall goals for this next year. That means I have a lot of thoughts still running around in my head. First, I'll write the overall goal. For instance, I want to read a book a month so the next step will be to create a list of books to draw from. Another goal is working more hours each week. My next step is to decide on a schedule or how to block off some time. Start big and work your way backwards toward the smaller pieces. It's doable - I'll have mine ready by the first of the year.
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