Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Time to Plan: Goal Setting 101

 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens: 
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.  Ecclesiastes 3

I am grateful that every year, God gives us a clean slate and we get a "do-over".  Goodness knows, I could use one!  With the new year approaching, now is the time when I ask myself what did I do well and what could I have done better?  What is working and what's not?  Am I spending time doing unnecessary things or should I be investing my time in other places?  I am more concerned with the way my house looks or the people in it?

It seems like as the new year approaches, most people make obligatory resolutions.  I know I've done it.  You, too?  You know, resolutions like:
This year I'm going to ________:
  • lose weight
  • quit smoking
  • read the Bible from cover to cover
  • spend more time with my family
  • exercise
  • cook more meals at home
  • get organized
  • get out of debt...
If any of those are on your list, you are not alone.  But how many times do we have big plans for the new year only to lose our resolve after a few short weeks...or maybe even days?

So how does someone accomplish their goals?

Well, first of all, be sure it's something you really want.  Give yourself some time to determine that.  Don't be in a huge rush.  If you are not truly committed, you are setting yourself up for failure.  And failure stinks.  But that's not really so bad, because what's worse is if you make a habit of making resolutions, goals, promises, or whatever you want to call them, and then don't keep them, you teach yourself that you are a person who can't achieve them.  And that's a lie you don't want your subconcious to believe, cuz most likely that will include therapy to get past that one.

Pray about it.  Your goal might be something you really want, but is it something God wants for you, too?  Ask for Him to make it clear to you and for His blessings and assistance with your goal.

Choose only one thing to focus on.  Trust me, you can't chase two rabbits.  Don't stretch your focus too thin.  But, your goal may have sub-goals that help you reach your desired outcome.  Example: If your goal is to become more physically fit, that might include working out X number of times a week and cutting back on sweets, etc.  But doing the other things will help you become more fit.  Make sense?

Write it down.  This is big.  Keep your goal in front of you.  Maybe you'll have it written down in several different places.  Just make sure you don't forget about it.

Write down all the things that could cause you to fail.  Identify them up front.  Create a plan to circumvent them.  It's like talking to your kids about peer pressure and encouraging them to have a plan of action...just in case.  Being prepared is a key to success.

Write down all the reasons you want to achieve your goal.  Be sure to include how you will feel.  What will those closest to you say?  Visualize.

Break your goal down.  "You can eat a whole bite at a time."  If your goal is to get out of debt, start with your smallest debt first and focus on paying any extra money you have on that one until it is gone.  Then move on to the next one.  Focusing on that small goal will get you moving in the right direction and take away (or at least minimize) the feelings of overwhelm.

Share your goal with someone or people you trust.  You have balcony people in your life (your cheerleaders) and basement people (those that want to drag you down).  Share your goal only with balcony people...

Start!  Fear of failure can hold us back from starting something.  It's okay, just get started.  Every action toward your goal just puts you that much closer to achieving it!

Celebrate the victories.  This doesn't mean that if you lost 5 pounds that you can eat half a cheesecake to reward yourself.  But doing something to celebrate those milestones is a really good idea!  Have coffee or tea with a friend, light the Victory Candle, take a hot bath, give yourself a get the idea.  Make it enjoyable and you'll want to achieve the next step!
Photo sources:,;;

No comments:

Post a Comment