When a new year starts, many of us see this as an opportunity to start fresh. We have grand plans to change something significant in our lives and vow that THIS year, I will finally . . . (fill in the blank). Soon after January begins, we have forgotten what we were so determined to do and we fall into our usual behaviors. Why does this happen?
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Without careful planning, it is very difficult to make changes to our lifestyle. It isn’t difficult to do, but many of us forget to do this important step.
Research: When setting a new goal, the first step is to do some research. Look up some tips, tricks, hacks or articles that can give you some advice about the best way to reach your goal.
For example, if I wanted to quit smoking, or learn how to organize my closet, or buy a new puppy, the first thing I would do is research and educate myself on the best way to accomplish it. You may find some invaluable insights that will help make this journey easier or quicker. You may also prevent yourself from wasting time by trying things that don’t work. Take notes on what you discover about your goal.
Plan: Now that you have done some research, you are ready to make a plan. Decide what works for you. Write out your plan so you have a guideline to follow.
For example, let’s use the quit smoking goal. You have researched many options and you decide to see a doctor, get a patch, and allow yourself one year to reach your goals. That’s your plan. Let’s say you want to buy a new puppy. After your research, you decide on what breed is best for you, made a list of supplies you need, and choose a training schedule to follow. That’s your plan.
Step-by-Step: Once you have a plan, break it into tiny, achievable steps. How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.
Continuing with the quit smoking goal, your first step might be to set an appointment with your doctor. Your second step could be to make a list of questions to discuss at that appointment. Another step could include throwing away all your cigarettes. And so on.
One Day at a Time: Just like we must take one step at a time, we also must take one day at a time. When we are working towards a challenging goal, it may become discouraging when it is so difficult. At those moments, just remind yourself that you just need to focus on that one day. Tomorrow, do the same.
For example, quitting a habit that perhaps has been part of your life for years, isn’t going down without a fight! You may slip up and that’s okay. Just get back on your plan and start again. Often when people are dieting to lose weight, myself included, we slip up and eat that chocolate cake! At that point it is easy to throw up your hands and give up. But don’t. Just start again.
Accountability: Try to find a partner that will either go on the journey with you or at least support you on yours. You are still, first and foremost, accountable to yourself but it is nice to have someone cheering for you along the way.
Be careful though when two of you are trying to stop smoking or trying to lose weight. If one of you falls off the plan, it may take the other off the plan as well. So think ahead and decide what you will do if your partner chooses to keep smoking or stop dieting.
Reward Yourself: Create a list of rewards for each accomplishment you achieve along the way to your goal. It is important to celebrate yourself and your hard work. These rewards need to be enticing enough to make you want to earn them.
Here are some examples of rewards: eating at your favorite restaurant, buy that new item, take a bubble bath, visit a friend, buy a new item of clothing, indulge in a favorite dessert, etc. Of course, rewards should not sabotage your goal, such as eating chocolate as a reward for losing 2 more pounds or buying a new lighter if you are stopping smoking.
Have Determination: Winners never quit, and quitters never win. If you quit, you will not reach your goal. It is that simple. Even if you mess up a little or don’t stick to your plan perfectly, start again. Start as many times as you must as long as you don’t give up! You will get there if you keep trying.
One thing that might help is to create a reason for your goal. Often people lose weight before going on a cruise in the summer. It isn’t the best for keeping the extra weight off unless you make some real lifestyle changes, however, it can help you to be motivated in the beginning.
You don’t have to wait for next January to make changes in your life or reach your dreams. You can set and reach goals throughout the year, each month, each week, or each day. Keep your life moving forward by following these steps each time you want to set a new goal. You are worth the effort to attain all your goals in life!
Featured photo by Dawid Zawila on Unsplash.
Anytime I start something new, I like to think about what I want from that new beginning. If I enter a new season, for example, I make a list of all the things I want to do that I can only do that season . . . pumpkin carving, spice pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins. When I move into a new home, I carefully organize each room and closet. It gives me a chance to reduce clutter and bring out favorite treasures while I decorate. When I begin a new year, I decide what I am going to accomplish and what I will spend my time on that year.
This year is the perfect opportunity to take control of your life and decide how you will spend the days to come. It is after all, the beginning of a new decade!
Now, brace yourself. I am about to say the “G” word —–> Goals!
This year is the beginning of a new decade and the chance to make your one, three, five, and ten-year goals. But first, let’s look at that word “goals” because once you break it down, it isn’t such a scary word.
- When a person thinks about what they want to do – that is a dream.
- When a dream is broken into steps – it becomes a task or tasks.
- When a deadline (or due date) is attached to a task – it becomes a goal.
So, in reality, a goal is just an intentional task with a deadline.
Here is a great example of the difference between a dream and a goal. Let’s say you want to buy a house. The dream is to own your own home. As long as you keep saying to yourself and your friends that you want to buy a house, it remains a dream.
This dream becomes a task or series of tasks when you break that dream into steps. These steps may include things like: set up a savings account, meet with a financial person about getting a loan, looking at where you would like to live, cutting things out of your budget, etc. At this point you are moving in the direction of buying your house. Too many people stop here though. These tasks could stay on your to-do list for a very long time.
The most difficult step is assigning a deadline to these tasks which is what turns them into goals. Having a deadline may feel like a commitment or a ball and chain, but it is also what will push you to make your dream a reality. How badly do you want that dream?
(You are not alone in your feelings of nervousness, extra perspiration, or jittery bugs. I confess that I am talking to myself right now as well!)
Buying a house is an example of a long-term goal. It is something that we can’t accomplish within a month. Our daily to-do lists are examples of short-term goals. It is important to have both long-term and short-term goals. (More on that later.)
This year, the beginning of a new decade, is the perfect time to set goals for 2020, as well as make our one-year, three-year, five-year, and ten-year goals. Wow, that’s a lot of planning, thinking and dreaming! But I promise you, worth it!!
How do you do it? It is really very simple. All that is required is paper, pen, and some quiet time. Write at the top of four sheets: One-year, three-year, five-year, and ten-year. Answer these questions about yourself . . .
“Where do I want to be in life in __(fill in with 1, 3, 5, or 10)__ years.”
Imagine what you could be doing in five years. You could go to college. You could have that house. You could write a book. You could have a new career. Only you can decide what you want from your life and only you can limit yourself. Right now, just dream a little. Give yourself a few moments. Explore the possibilities!
The “G” word really isn’t that scary when you realize they are just steps taken to make your dreams come true. In fact, isn’t it exciting to think that you can actually make that happen!
Look for upcoming posts about what to do next, but for now, write down your thoughts about your life and where you want to be in ten years.
Featured photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash.
Our values or the things that are important to us, are what define us. Values are what guide the choices we make in our life. They may dictate our morals and keep us in line to our own personal standards. With so much power over us, it is important that we are aware of which values we hold in the highest regard.
The most successful relationships are those that have shared values. If two people both value family, for example, and there is a choice between going to a movie or going to a family event, then both will want to go to the family event. Values are the underlying motivation for what we do and how we spend our time. So when two people share the same values, they will get along better and have more in common.
Barrett Values Centre has a test you can take to find out what you value and how they impact your life. There is so much information on this website. You may find out things about yourself that will help determine what goals you want to set for the new year.
So can you see the value of finding out your values?
Featured photo by Sean Stratton on Unsplash.
The word “goals” seems to get a different reaction from different people. For some “goals” brings excitement and motivation, but for others, it brings fear and anxiety. For me, I used to think of goals as things I wanted to do and when I was ready, I would pursue them. Goals were ideals for the future or for someone more serious about their life. Then one day, I heard a motivational speaker talking about the simplicity of goals. He said, “Goals are just a task with a deadline.” This transformed the way I thought about my life and now, I live my life by setting goals.
Setting goals start with a dream like, “Someday, I want to plant a garden.” We can make this dream a reality by setting a deadline. For example, “I want to plant a garden by April.” We can further clarify this goal by adding more specifics. “I want to plant a 6′ x 9′ garden by April.” Doesn’t it seem more doable now? Instead of a dream of having a garden, there is actually a plan to make that dream come true.
Begin by setting a small goal. What is something you have been procrastinating to do or dreaming of doing? Write it down. Then add a reasonable deadline. Think of the steps you need to do in order to accomplish your new goal. Each day, try to work on each step. When you finish the steps, you reach your goal!
Creating the life you love is possible by setting goals, one at a time, step by step.
Featured photo by Samuel Clara on Unsplash.