Can you believe it? It’s just about the end of another year. How did your year go? Did you accomplish all you set out to do? Have you thought about what you want for next year? Is your plan written down yet?
Usually I begin thinking about the upcoming new year around mid-October. The air starts to change, feeling like fall and giving me a sense that the holidays are just around the corner. With a new year not too far off, I reflect on where I’ve been so far and start thinking about where I want to go down the road and how to get there. I think about the goals I’ve set for myself for the past year and the new goals that I want to achieve for the next. What do I want to do? What do I want to achieve?
The Importance of Setting Goals
Goal-setting gives us focus, helps shape our dreams, and provides us with the ability to zero in on exactly what we need to do to get to where we want to go. Goals are beneficial because they make us think… think of ways to stretch ourselves and grow into better versions of ourselves. They make us think of all the endless possibilities to develop our potential and give us a sense of direction. They also help us get back on track when we momentarily trip off the trail.
My goals are a never-ending work in progress. They’re a to-do list of sorts. I add goals to my list throughout the year, I check some off my list as they get done, and I even delete some goals altogether simply because I changed my mind (we humans can do that, you know). And as a new year approaches, I review my marked-up to-do list and rewrite it, so it’s all nice and clean again with only those previous goals I still want accomplish on it. Then the process of adding newer and bigger dreams and goals begin.
What about you? Do you have your to-do list together and in order yet?
Questions I Ask Myself
First off, when putting together my to-do list, my goals are my own. They’re not my partner’s, my friends’, or anyone else’s goals. They’re mine. I refuse to let anyone determine my definition of success for myself. It’s my future, my life. Yes, others are included in my plans, but my goals are mine. I like to start by asking myself:
- Where do I want to go? (This is always my first and favorite question. It gets me going!)
- What do I want to do?
- What do I want to have?
- What do I want to learn? (I love this question, too!)
- What contribution do I want to make?
- How much (money) do I want to earn?
- How much do I want to save?
- How much do I want to invest?
- What will I do for fun?
- What will I do to improve my health?
- Who do I want to meet?
- Who do I want to spend my time with?
I focus on each question and write down as many answers as I can possibly come up with. Reasonable ones. Wild and crazy ones. Whatever. This is fun for me. And no one is sitting there judging me or my thoughts… except me, of course. But I really take my time to think things out. I ask myself: “What’s really important to me?” Really. “What am I prepared to give up to make this happen?” I start each goal with “I will” or “I am”, and I don’t restrict myself. I just think about all the possibilities! They really are endless!
When setting my goals, I love to hand-write everything. I’m a creative person by nature. I draw, I paint, I write, and play the piano. I love the feel of the pen rolling across the page and seeing words just magically appear. My hand is doing that! This is my creativity flowing out! Writing down (or typing out) your goals actually gives you a far better advantage of achieving them than when you don’t. There are studies out there that suggest that when you write down your goals, you increase your chances of achieving them by 42%! That’s almost a 50% increase in SUCCESS! And when you have written goals, it plants the seed of commitment in your mind and solidifies your intentions.
So now, how about you? Are you ready to create the life of your dreams? (Hopefully you answer, “Yes!!!!”)
Tips To Keep in Mind
When writing out your to-do list, remember:
- Be specific with each goal and avoid generalities. Be very clear with yourself. You deserve it!
- Keep your goals flexible. Remember that great opportunities can and do pop up throughout the year. Don’t be so rigid in your plan that you can’t or don’t take advantage of them.
- Make your goals challenging and exciting. Put yourself out of your comfort zone. Give yourself a reason to jump out of bed in the morning. Create your excitement!
- Keep your goals in alignment with your values, and let your intuition be your guide. If something feels off to you, cross it off your list or don’t put it on your list in the first place.
- Allow for time to relax, time to spend with friends, time for fun. And don’t forget about your spirituality. It’s important to maintain your life’s balance.
- Make sure you’re realistic and allow yourself ample time to reach your goals. It’s okay to stretch yourself. Just be sure you’re not overdoing it or being unrealistic.
- Make sure you are contributing back to society. Don’t get so caught up in accomplishing your goals that you forget about giving back to your community. Building this into your goals ensures follow-through, and giving back simply feels good.
- Build accountability into your plan and share your goals and dreams with a select few people. Create a supportive environment for yourself that actually helps you achieve your goals.
Now, get started. Schedule some quiet time for yourself, put on some relaxing music, and put that pen to paper (or flip that laptop open) and start writing out your goals. This may take you just a couple of hours or even a few weeks. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you do it… like your life and your success depend on it!
Wishing you a very happy, healthy new year! May all your dreams come true!