March 8, 2012

Setting goals gives you clear direction. Setting goals can enable you to make wiser decisions. Taking the time to set goals will help you spend your time and money on things that align with your values. Having clearly defined goals isn’t a magic pill, but it is a great motivator. Here are some steps for defining your goals, establishing how you want to meet them, and stating your motivation in completing them.

It is important to set goals, but it is equally as important to take the time to plan your how.  After all, what is the purpose of setting goals if you don’t also create a plan to achieve them?  Writing out your goals is only step one and it is nothing without an action plan to make it happen. Create a list of tasks or document events in a calendar to help you clearly keep track of how you plan to achieve your goal.

Once you have an idea for how, make sure you cement in your why.  An easy way to motivate ourselves to stick to our plan is to identify the consequences if you don’t achieve them. For example, let’s set a goal of losing 20 pounds within the next 6 months.  The consequence if we don’t lose our extra weight might look something like the examples below (I do recommend that you write your consequences out in both positive and negative terms):

“I don’t want to shorten my life.  I want to live a long, healthy life so that I might enjoy my children now and continue being an active participant in their lives as they continue to grow”

“I want to have more energy.  I don’t want to feel so lethargic and feel the need to nap every afternoon.”

“I don’t want to have to increase my clothes size.  I want to fit into my clothes more comfortably.”

Now you are well aware of the reasoning behind the goal you set.  This key should not be overlooked as it can be something you pull out and re-read when the dieting or exercising routine gets old.

Someone without goals tends to move aimlessly from one activity to another.  This can leave you feeling that time has been wasted on things that are irrelevant, irresponsible, or unimportant.  Similarly, someone that has not thought through their monetary goals also tends to spend money aimlessly and without thinking.

Perhaps right now you are reading this and thinking you just don’t have time for this type of life planning.  Actually, that is a very common reason (excuse?) that people have for not setting goals.  It is hard to think that you can set goals when you already feel overwhelmed with just keeping up with your current life demands.  That is exactly why you have to make time for goal setting.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you living your perfect life?
  • Is your marriage just the way you envisioned it would be?
  • Are your children all well-behaved, polite, neat, diligent, hard working, considerate human beings?
  • Is your income adequate for all of your needs and a few of your desires?
  • More than that, is your income sourced from you doing something that you love?
  • Are you at your ideal weight?
  • Have you met all of your physical fitness challenges?
  • Do you have time for your family and your friends?

While I don’t know you personally, I’m guessing maybe there were several of those questions to which you responded in the negative.  It is even possible that you said no to all of those questions.  It isn’t too late to do something about your answers.  You can have a great marriage and good children.  You are able to earn more doing something you love.  You can take the extra weight off and build up your endurance.  You can have such a balanced existence that you are able to do all that needs to be done and still have time for fun and friends. These are not pie in the sky, silly ideals – these are your goals waiting to be written down, planned out, and gone after.