Goal Setting is for Everyday
Here we are into the New Year and you may be thinking it is too late to set your goals for 2015. Everday is a new opportunity to embrace and chose your authentic self. Make a difference in yourself and your effect can have a positive reflection on the lives you touch.
Many years ago, I started the process of looking back at what I’ve accomplished and learned, and got myself mentally ready for a great new year ahead. You may be thinking this could be a painful exercise, but I learned to celebrate my successes and reflect on how I could improve myself. My hope is that you may find this valuable.
So find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. Turn off your phones etc. Turn on some great “mind music”. Grab a pen and some paper. Write these things down. Research has proven over and over that writing is so much more effective than typing this stuff into a computer. Step 1) Take a look back at all the things you’ve accomplished and the great experiences you had this year. Spend a few minutes making a list of everything you’ve managed to achieve. Write them all down ... the big ones and the little ones. Call this your 2014 “Victory List.” You might be surprised at just how much you’ve accomplished in just twelve months. Saying, “I have accomplished nothing”, is not an option. You are still here ... that’s something. Be kind to yourself. Resist the urge to think of this exercise as selfish ... it isn’t. It is powerful. Step 2) Rid your life of tolerations. Take a serious look at the things you no longer want in your life; make a list of all the things you’d like to leave behind. We all have things that get in our way. We have things in our lives that are long past their ‘use by’ date. I call them “tolerations”. What have you tolerated (and continue to tolerate) that drain you of energy? Are you willing to get those things out of your life for good ... right now? They include physical objects, poor habits, limiting beliefs, thought patterns that hurt us and others, and yes, even people we no longer choose to spend time with. Step 3) Think about your dreams for the future. What do you really want to bring into your life? What experiences would you like to enjoy? What new skills would you like to learn? What would you like to do? How would you like to be? Make notes, draw a picture or speak into your 'Smart Phone's Voice Memo' to help you remember your dreams. Here’s where you might want to spend more than five or ten minutes. Take as much time as you like dreaming about the future you desire. See it in your mind. Make vivid pictures of the way you want it to be. If you don’t know what you want, you can ask yourself the ‘miracle question’: “If a miracle occurred during the night, and when you woke up tomorrow ... everything in your life was exactly the way you’d like it to be, how would you know there’d been a miracle?” What would you see, feel and hear that would let you know a miracle had taken place? What are the things, experiences, qualities, and ways of being you’d like to experience more of in the future. Make a list of these. These can be quite general: Spend more time with your family? Get fitter? Earn more? Learn more? Spend more time in the present moment? List the things you’d like to attract into your life. Step 4) Make a list of your goals for the year ahead. What would you like to accomplish? What would you like to learn? What would you like to get? Who would you like to meet? In what ways would you like to grow? What are you committed to this year that you did not do last year? There are all sorts of claims made about the power of goal setting, but I’m going to spare you the rhetoric. Instead, I’ll make a blindingly obvious point: you have a much better chance of hitting a target when you know what it is. Human neurology is goal-seeking — so access your incredibly powerful unconscious mind — and make a list of what you’d like to achieve in 2008. Step 5) Read through the your list of last years accomplishments. Congratulate yourself for everything you did right. Put this list (#1) on your left. Read through the list of things you’d like to leave behind. Forgive yourself for any mistakes you feel you’ve made, and put this list (#2) on your left also. Take the materials relating to your dreams (#3), and place them in front of you. Review the list of things you’d like to attract into your life, and put this list (#4) on your right. Read through your goals for the year ahead, then put this list (#5) on your right also (if you are left handed, lists 1 & 2 on your right and 4 & 5 on your left). Imagine all the good feelings, thoughts and energies from your accomplishments coming into your body (you can visualize them coming into your body in any way you choose). Step 6) Change something. Anything. We all get stuck from time to time. We don’t like change because it’s uncomfortable. We can so easily get stuck in a routine that makes our lives dull and boring. Getting stuck is normal, staying stuck leads to failure! Routines can drains us of energy. They stifle creativity. They keep us from moving forward. They cause us to live in fear of change when we should embrace it. What should you change? It really doesn’t matter. It can be a lamp shade, a bedspread, a piece of art, your route to work, your hairstyle, re-arrange your furniture, clean up your office, throw out all the junk ... just change anything and change as much as you can manage. Or ... you could do what I did yesterday ... buy a new car. Think of today as springtime ... don’t wait till April. Bloom now. Start over, make your life fresh again! It feels good and produces great results. Step 7) Who can you forgive today? Forgive someone who may have hurt you. Even if they are dead wrong. Wipe the slate clean. The biggest mistake we can make is to go into a new year with old baggage. Reconcile all damaged relationships as fast as you can. It isn’t easy ... but it could be the most important thing you do all year. Step 8) Forgive yourself. So you weren’t perfect in ‘14 ... take solace in the fact that no one else was either. Forgive yourself and try not to make the same mistakes again. You are a human being becoming ... and you are special. Go to your mirror every morning for the next 365 days ... look at yourself in that mirror and say 10 times, “I love you”. Silly? I don’t think so. Step 9) Commit to putting your family first in your life. You have a lot going on in your life. If you are on the fast track to success, you can easily take your family for granted. When the dust clears from all that striving, the things that matter most have to do with your family. These are the people who love you the most. How would you score yourself in ‘14 for building a close and loving family? Commit to being the catalyst for a closer family. Don’t wait for the phone to ring ... call everyone in your family right now and tell them how much you love them. Step 10) Commit to a life of gratitude. In my opinion ... the only road to true and lasting happiness. Spend more time being grateful and less time being critical. From time to time I get a little caught up in “what’s wrong” and I tend to forget to be thankful for “what’s right”. I have to remind myself ... every day is a gift and tomorrow is promised to no one. I am committed to making ’15 my all-time best “gratitude year”. I hope you will do the same. Make a list of 20 things you are most grateful for. If you get on a roll, just keep writing. This is a powerful exercise and a great way to start a new year.