2008 has been a year for the books, filled with amazing highs and devastating lows, for the world and for me, personally. But you can probably say that about most years, given that during the course of 365 days a lot is going to happen, both good and bad. Sure, this past year has seemed to have more than its share of misery, but I prefer to dwell on the positive, on the good, not only for what occurred during 2008, but moving forward into 2009. Bad things will, unfortunately, happen this new year, but with them plenty of good. What about for you and me? What is in store for us on a personal level?
While we are unable to control many situations or events or catastrophes or wondrous occurrences that befall or enlighten us over the course of our lives, we can
do a few things. Like set goals.
A new year brings with it resolutions. This time of year you see countless posts and articles discussing resolutions and goals that you WILL FINALLY DO
this year. Changes in your lifestyle, health choices, careers, relationships, finances, what-have-you, that are so important that you put off attempting to achieve them for months, just so you can set them as RESOLUTIONS
to ignore throughout the coming year. To that I say:
DON'T SET NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS, SET GOALS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE YEAR!
The following is a post I wrote about goals back in July of this past year. I talk about the importance of not only setting short-range, mid-range, and long-range goals, but also the necessity of reworking and constantly tweaking your goals throughout the weeks/months/years. After reading the post you may notice that I have reworked and tweaked some of my own goals in only a few months, which underscores the importance of setting goals, or resolutions, throughout the year, and not just at the end of it.
I hope all of you have a healthy, prosperous, happy, and wonderful 2009! I know I'm going to. Why? Because it's one of my goals.
A LIFE WITHOUT GOALS IS A LIFE UNFULFILLED
I didn’t want to write this post. Not because I don’t have a passion for the subject matter—I live for goals! I just didn’t feel like sitting here, pen in hand (yes, I write the old fashioned way, with pen and paper; I then transfer those scratched out words to a word document, and then I post it to my blog—it works for me) vexing my brain into coming up with today’s post. But here I am, writing about the necessity of goals in our lives, despite desiring to be elsewhere. Why? Because I have to—it’s one of my goals.
Recently, I decided that I would write three blog posts a week—on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I visit dozens of blogs each day, taking note of content, style, and frequency of posts, and based on that figured that three was just about right. That number also fit in with my wanting to write about the three main themes of livelife365.com
--Health, Personal Development, and Entertainment—each week. After making this decision, I then made it a goal. Being serious about my goals, and today being Friday, I felt compelled, bound by self-promise, to keep my word to myself. Ah, goals!
I am a firm believer that to be successful in life one needs to have a plan. Now, I also understand the need for spontaneity and that I am unable to “control” a lot of situations, realize that life often tosses us curveballs of fate, both ominous and serendipitous, that my plans or goals make little dent in. For that I like to say, “Worry about the things you can control and not about what you cannot.” What I am getting at is the gist of this post, and that is: Take charge of your life by setting goals!
Let’s say you’re trying to lose weight—I strongly suggest setting a weekly goal to strive for. For me, when I lost 40 pounds in six months, I set a goal of losing two pounds a week
as something to shoot for. My short-range goals also included weighing myself daily, keeping a diet journal of everything I put in my mouth, and counting calories consumed and burned. A lot of effort, but well worth it—it worked!
Set clearly defined goals, but make sure they are not too easy or too difficult to attain. If they are too easy, then raise the bar; find yourself something worthwhile to shoot for. But don’t raise that bar too high—if a goal appears unattainable, then you begin to lose faith, get frustrated, regress, and sometimes give up. It is a challenging balancing act, but if you put some thought and effort into it, you’d be surprised at how effective your results will be.
Speaking of effort—setting, maintaining, and reaching goals is all about effort. Hard work. You will get out of it only what you put into it. If you are serious about changing your life for the better—physically, intellectually, financially, spiritually, relationship-wise—and bringing more purpose and fulfillment into your days, it takes some work. Work well worth the effort. But you need a plan. You need goals.
Have you ever sat in a job interview, or maybe just a performance review with your boss, and heard this query: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Big groan, right?
Most of us are just trying to survive today, or at least this week, month, maybe year. Think about five years for a moment—it seems like a long time, but, for me, at least, these last five years have flown by! If you are not where you want to be now, chances are you did not give enough attention to your goals five years ago—make sense? Put another way: If you see yourself five years from now in a better career, nicer home, married with children (or divorced, free, and consuming fruity beverages on a beach in the Caribbean), you will need to start planning NOW. Start setting goals.
• Make a list of your dreams and goals
• Make a plan of how to attain the above
• Set a doable timetable
• Put forth the effort
• Remember that there will be snags, forks in the road, challenges and adversity along the way, so…
• Don’t be afraid to reassess, tweak, and refresh your goals. As you evolve, so do your goals.
• Stay the course, never give up, dream, and live!
When I think long-range, I think ten years or more, maybe longer. What I’m really trying to say is—when can I retire? And: how much money will I need? Also where?
A few years ago, I made a major commitment and decisions that would greatly determine when and how well my wife and I would retire and live. How did I go about doing this? I set goals. Sensing I was nearing the end of my prime earning years, I made a concerted effort to work more hours, earn more money, so we could save more. I set short- and mid-range goals for contributions in our 401k plans, upping the percentages each year until we eventually hit our maxes. I reworked our budget to help meet these goals (a good practice to do at least once a year), cutting spending here, sacrificing there (here’s a helpful video
to get you started in the right direction), without compromising our other goal of enjoying our lives today.
These are just some of my goals. Your goals will be different, and they will need different strategies and planning. No matter what your dream life is, what goals you need to work on to achieve it, the more effort you put forth the better your results will be. Focus, plan, work hard, and you’re on your way.
Set goals and stick with them and your dream life, before you know it, will become reality.
Remember: A life without goals is a life unfulfilled
Wow, for a guy who didn’t feel like writing, I sure wrote a lot. Why? Because it was a goal.