Are you a person who already believes that goal-setting leads to health, success, and happiness?
Or are you a person who associates “goal-setting” with failed New Year’s Resolutions, full-out frustration, and, “No way. If I declare a goal, I might actually have to do it, which I won’t, so I’m not gonna bother setting one.”
Many of us, myself included, have a love/hate relationship with goal-setting.
I recall numerous times in my life when I’ve set specific goals, envisioned their completion, taken action, and — voilá — success! But I also recall times in my life when I’ve set wishy-washy goals that resulted in wishy-washy success at best, which made me regret setting that darn goal in the first place.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could master the art of goal-setting? Wouldn’t it be sweet if our 2014 New Year’s Resolutions actually came true? Wouldn’t it be mahvelous if the word “goal-setting” didn’t send us running to the pantry for chips and dip or (for my southern friends) Nabs and Nehi?
I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have a burning desire for health, success, and happiness. The difference between those who merely wish it and those who actually achieve it comes down to setting goals and taking action. Though I obviously can’t make it happen for you, I can offer you some tips and strategies that will help you turn 2014 into a year you’ll look back on with pride and satisfaction.
A year when you can smile at yourself in the mirror and say, “Well done!”
[Because most of my clients are Christian women in the midst of creating healthy, meaningful lives and/or businesses, I’ll use examples they can easily relate to. These strategies hold true regardless of circumstances, however. Feel free to extrapolate.]
Goal-Setting Must Begin with a Proper Foundation
In other words, why bother?
If you don’t have a strong enough reason for changing your habits, for accomplishing your goals, you’re going to have a hard time trudging on when the initial excitement wears off. You have to be clear on your values and your priorities.
Let’s say you’ve decided that 2014 is the year you’re, daggone it, once and for all gonna get your body healthy. Start by asking yourself questions like:
- Why do I want to get healthy?
- How will improving my health change my life — and my outlook on life?
- How will improving my health affect my family and friends?
- How will improving my health affect my financial future?
- How will improving my health help me fulfill my God-given purpose?
And if 2014 is the year you intend to (finally) get your business off the ground, ask yourself questions like:
- Why do I want to improve the health of my business?
- On a scale of 1-10, how important is it to me to be a successful entrepreneur?
- How will improving the financial health of my business affect my family and friends?
- How will improving the health of my business help me help more people?
- How will improving the health of my business help me fulfill my God-given purpose?
Don’t just ponder those ideas in your head — write them down! Refer back to them again and again or (trust me) your enthusiasm will wane, and your resolutions will be forgotten.
Goal-Setting Must Be Laser-Focused
“2014 is the year I lose weight.”
“2014 is the year I turn my business around.”
“2014 is the year I ____________ .”
If you don’t fill in that blank with something specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (that is, a SMART goal), you drastically decrease your chances of achieving it. My friend and colleague Jennifer Britton recommends adding an E to that acronym. A goal, she says, must also be EXCITING. If you yawn when you think about it, it’s probably not gonna happen.
- Write down your SMART-E goals for 2014.
- Chunk them down into one-month goals, three-month goals, six-month goals.
- Post them where you can see them and look at them often… at least every morning and every evening.
- Visualize success.
- SPEAK your goals! There’s power in the spoken word!
- Share them with others you trust (e.g., your coach, mentor, pastor, spouse) for encouragement and accountability purposes.
Goal-Setting Must Be Accompanied by a Plan of Action
Don’t just have SMART-E goals. Have SMART-E Action Steps as well.
Let’s say you plan to enter the local Dance Marathon in June 2014 and boogie down for 3 hours straight. What SPECIFIC STEPS do you need to take to help you achieve that goal?
- Write down your SMART-E Action Plan… including a schedule (in this case, a training schedule) and including the names of people you’d like to engage in your plan with you (e.g., friends who have also made a commitment to get healthy).
- Post it where you’ll see it.
- Visualize success (right down to what you’ll be wearing as you dance the night away!).
- Share your plan with others you trust — people who will encourage you, support you, and hold you accountable.
- Develop a contingency plan for when fear and/or resistance raise their ugly head(s).
- Go for it!
Photo by Flickr (Penn State News)
As you actively pursue meaningful, purposeful goals, focusing on what you want and taking the requisite ACTION to get there, happiness will surely follow. There’s nothing quite like the process of achieving your dreams.
“The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking.” ~Robert H. Schuller
Your turn. It’s December 2014. You’re smiling at yourself in the mirror. What is one meaningful, purposeful goal you’ve worked toward and achieved?
Inspire us by leaving your response in the comment box below or challenge us by asking a question.
If you need help creating a life or business that is healthy and purposeful, contact me today.
To Your Health, Success, and Happiness!