I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve always thought it was a waste of time. There are plenty of books, articles and methods for setting goals. What’s the right one?
It’s generally written that goals need to be specific, measurable, and attainable. I’m not going to set a goal for getting on the U.S. Olympic Team. That’s not attainable unless I’m really close to qualifying. It’s also not specific. Do I hope to make the Team in my lifetime, by a specific date, in a specific sport? The goal needs to be specific. Broad goals don’t do anything for anyone. Goals also need to be measurable. Do I need to run the 1 meter dash in 1 minute? That’s also specific. It may or may not be measurable. If I want to save $100 per month that’s measurable. I can measure how much each week or day to save.
You can also set goals in a 1 year, 5 year, 10 year plan. My late husband used to do this. His 5 or 10 year plan might involve where he wants to live or where he wants to work. It’s good to have general goals for this. They can be specific, measurable, and attainable, but often these are broad. Along with these some goal setters like to include photos. My son and his wife used to have a poster board with photos glued to it of what their dreams were so they could achieve them. I have mine in my head, though a recent exercise in a coaching session required me to bring in photos. So a Mopar purple Roadrunner and log cabin is what they got!
Last year I went through the book Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. I highly recommend it. The first half of the book sets up the principle. Then there is the template to create your own life plan. You start with a eulogy. How do you want to be remembered? Then you move into what’s important to you and action plans and each. Mine is 14 pages long. The goal of this is to really think. I even fasted while I did mine to have a clear head. It’s advised to read it every day. I have failed at that. Reading it serves two purposes.
First, it keeps it in perspective and helps you to take the actions you stated. Second, it’s a live document so your priorities change and so should your document.
Here were my priorities last year. They have changed this year.
What matters most?
- Health & Fitness
- Making a difference
- Learning & Educating
- Have fun (Recreation, travel, hobbies)
- Financial stability & independence
I haven’t ironed them all out yet, but making a difference is either 1 or 2. It also carries over into all areas of my life. My hobbies include parts of making a difference. My career and spirituality do as well.
What’s the point of all this? Don’t be intimidated in setting goals. The only correct way to set a goal is that it’s something you want to reach, you have a plan to reach it, and the whole thing works for YOU. What works for you may not work for me and what works for me might be a failure for you. Just don’t give up. What will your eulogy be?