It’s that time of year again. Set goals not resolutions. History shows that resolutions are made to be broken, but goals endure and give you a dream to focus on.
Before the new year begins, decide what you want. By setting goals, you shape your future in advance. It’s amazing how many people think about and set new year’s resolutions, yet don’t take the time to stop and think about what they want for themselves in the new year.
Goals allow us to grow and expand while drawing us to success. A Yale study of the graduating class of 1953 who set goals showed that 20 years later, the 3% who set and stayed focused on their goals, were the happiest, most fulfilled and financially successful individuals within their graduating class.
Why do goals work and how can you effectively set them for yourself? Follow these tried and true steps to achieve anything you want in your life.
Goals require consistent focus. When you focus on something you want to have, be or experience; you must focus on that goal. Write it down, read it morning, noon and night. Write your key goals on index cards and review them throughout the day when you take a break. This keeps them in the forefront of your consciousness.
Make your goals so real that it feels like you already have them. Take time to visualize what it feels like having the relationship, the freedom or money to travel where you want, when you want; or whatever your goals are. Take a few minutes to shut your eyes and emotionally feel the satisfaction of having whatever those important things are that light you up.
- Take Action
Dreaming without action is only a wish. In order to achieve your goals you must be crystal clear on what you want, visualize achieving your goals, and be so motivated that you’ll do whatever it takes to stay in action toward what you want.
I like to break goal setting into categories. A good way to go about setting goals in each important area of your life is to set:
- Financial Goals
- Thing Goals
- Spiritual Goals
- Relationship Goals
- Physical Goals
- Experiences Goals
- Doing Good Goals
1. Financial Goals
Financial goals are obvious, but it’s wise to set short-term and long-term financial goals. Maybe there’s something you’re wanting to get but haven’t set a clear path to get it. By writing down what you envision and want for yourself in both the short and long-term, you’ll have a roadmap to get there.
It’s also a good idea to look back on spending patterns of the past year as you go into the next 12 months. You may be surprised when you break your spending down into categories of groceries, utilities, clothing, Starbucks – oh, yeah Starbucks. You may be surprised to see where money goes if you don’t watch where you’re spending it diligently.
2. Thing Goals
We all have ‘things’ that we’d like to get or have. Many times they can be simple, yet unless we prioritize them, they likely won’t become a priority. For myself, I’ve been saying that I want to get both an Indian Flute and a Tenor Saxophone. One I naturally can play just by putting the instrument to my mouth. The other I took lessons for years and love to play as well.
I recently bought a twirling baton. As a former majorette for the marching band in high school and college, it’s one of those things from my youth that conjures up good, happy memories. The great thing is that it’s great exercise and I still twirl like I did in college and high school.
What are those things that make your heart sing? I’m sure you’ve got some simple things that make you happy just at the thought of putting them on your ‘things’ list. It could be painting, drawing, sewing, wood carving, music, or myriad things. Dream and let yourself play like you did as a child. It’s what keeps us in touch with our youth.
3. Spiritual Goals
The reality is, in my belief system, I’m a spiritual being having a physical experience. Staying in alignment with my higher self, and my higher power or God as I call it; is vital to my happiness and feeling grounded.
I’ve started a ritual of listening to guided meditations daily on an amazing free app called Insight Timer. I listen to a guided relaxation meditation every night as I fall asleep and frequently listen to a positive affirmation meditation upon waking. This quiet and sacred space allows me to explore different parts of my spirituality and awareness, while learning new things from other highly spiritual people.
Setting an intention to stay grounded, humble, and connected to myself and my higher power through conscious prayer and meditation is necessary in the hustle and distractions of life.
4. Relationship Goals
Goals for your relationships can cover everything from family to friends, spouse, lover or significant other; children, co-workers, and everything in between. I look at my life like a series of circles, with those closest to me in the inner ring.
I set conscious goals to have healthy, loving, authentic relationships with those closest to me, whomever those people may be. This involves making commitments to spend time, keep communication open, express my feelings authentically, and give of myself in ways that are meaningful to them.
Goals for other relationships in our lives outside that closest inner circle can include friends, special people who have a special place in our lives, and anyone else who is closer than a co-worker or associate; yet not as close as a spouse or best friend.
The important thing to remember about relationships is that they are like flowers or a plant, if you ignore them they will dry or wither and die. Watering them with attention, care and love ensures that those relationships that fuel our lives, are healthy and nurturing to the other parts of our lives.
5. Physical Goals
It was easy to take physical goals for granted earlier in life. While I’ve always been athletic, making an effort to think and take steps proactively to ensure I am focused on physical vitality and health is more important than ever.
I set fitness goals for the number of times I will physically exercise whether it’s the gym or yoga, per week. Setting an every other day goal seems doable and not overwhelming with my busy schedule. Just as people who set new years resolutions to ‘work out every day,’ tend to break their ‘resolution’ within days of setting it; I’m more comfortable setting a goal that is achievable without feeling it’s pushing me over the edge.
I also set nutrition goals within my physical goals. Knowing that muscle retention is an area that anyone 45 and over must be conscious of, I’ve incorporated BCAAs into my daily nutrition ritual because they add a muscle retention component along with amino acids into my nutrition regimen. I also use vegetable protein and a scoop of green nutrition in a morning smoothie every day to ensure that I’m getting nutrition and not just calories.
6. Experience Goals
I’m big into ‘experiences’ over things. I’ve traveled to and have lived in many of the places I envisioned visiting, when growing up. Last year I spent almost a month working and living in Barbados mid-February to mid-March. I also spent time in Southern California, Florida, New York City, and in more spiritual places like Sedona, AZ, and rustic places like Strawberry and Pine, AZ.
I like to set goals toward visiting places I’ve not been that are inspirational for me to dream about. I’m a big frequent flyer mile person, and a smart traveler; having traveled hundreds of thousands of miles throughout my career in various parts of the world.
When you set goals for experiences, they can be travel related, or entertainment, event, cooking, or any experience you envision as a fulfilling and rewarding experience you would like to have in the coming year.
7. Doing Good Goals
We all have a need to give back or contribute to something bigger than ourselves. The intrinsic value and reward that we feel in giving to others far surpasses whatever energy or time you may give of yourself.
I started proactively giving back in several ways years ago. Today the more meaningful ways that I choose to give back involve being a teen leader at my spiritual place of worship. I spent a good part of the year last year, giving of my time every weekend loving on the babies in the nursery, with my little 9-year old granddaughter. She’s a baby lover, so it didn’t take much to get me engaged and on board.
The best part of that experience is that while I gave parents a break to be together and experience an adult experience of worshiping together, I got to give the little cherubs back at the end of the service. When the rules were changed for the age allowed in the nursery, and my little granddaughter was no longer able to serve, it was an easy transition for me to shift to the older teens.
Giving back in ways that value others is one of the most rewarding things I do every day and every week. I’m also a part of the prayer team at my spiritual place of worship. I’ve had the honor of praying with many people and being touched by their trust in me being with them in a sacred space to call upon a higher power to work in their lives.
Even if you’re not sure what your ‘doing good’ goals should or could be, as long as you’re open to discovering them, the Universe will conspire to help you.
Live All Out
As you go into 2018, and every part of each year, I encourage you to have goals and dreams that you are shooting for. Regardless of our age or place in life, there are things that we can strive for and achieve at any age and any place in life. The only limits are the ones we place on ourselves. Here’s to your best year yet!