I know; I know. Christmas hasn’t even made it and already I’m writing a post focusing on the New Year. If it seems like my decision is because I’ve fallen into that pit of commercialism, rest assured that it is not. See, goalsetting now may be a diversion from busy holiday shopping and reduce the stress of welcoming the New Year by having a plan. I’m not speaking of a few random resolutions that will begin strong and fizzle out by April. I’m speaking of mapping a detailed agenda of what you want to achieve in the future. Anything worth accomplishing generally is successfully attained by using a thorough and well-designed blueprint. For example, a common New Year’s resolution is weight loss. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to shed a few pounds. Okay, but how will one reach that goal?
It’s not enough to want and say what is desired. One must actively pursue it. So, to lose weight, a person may decide to join a gym membership, especially since many gyms discount their fees this time of year. But is this the best choice? Is this something that the person will have time to do? Is the gym located in an area that is not an inconvenience to attend? Will the gym hours work with the person’s hours? Financially, can the person afford the membership fees beyond the initial discount? These are all factors that should be considered. Waiting until December 31 to consider them, a person may feel he/he pressured to begin on January 2 and not skip sorting through options. Studies have indicated that when people are asked why they failed to succeed at their New Year’s resolutions, the response is because the resolution was not well-developed—that other events in their lives interfered and threw them off course. However, the truth is many of the hiccups could have been avoided if they had been considered before starting—being proactive instead of reactive.
Big goals frequently take a great deal of time to complete. This suggests that big goals also require much thought. Instead of sitting down and attempting to hash out a game plan in one go, perhaps what is needed is to consider choices for several weeks. Once one begins planning, he/she may realize that he/she needs to do prep work before setting his/her plan in motion. For example, a friend decided that she wanted to do a vision board to keep her inspired throughout the year. When another friend asked her if she had begun constructing the board, she confirmed that she hadn’t and would do it later in the month. As the other friend continued to acquire about the board, the first friend realized that making a vision board to hang on her wall would take longer than she had anticipated. Yes, she had determined she would download images from Pinterest. However, she hadn’t calculated the number of hours she would need to browse through the site. The sheer abundance of picture options can be overwhelming. She also had neglected to purchase extra ink and paper or the size of the board she would use. While she hasn’t begun assembling her board, she has begun collecting images and trimming them to attach.
However, I’m jumping ahead slightly. Therefore, let me reset and start from the beginning. How does one determine goals for the new year?
- Clearly defining the goals. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how vague some people can be in listing his/her goals. For example, the broad statement, “I want to be wealthy?” Ask ten people to define wealth, and one is likely to receive ten different answers. Wealth for one person may mean earning a million dollars. Another person may consider “being wealthy” a lot less expensive at one hundred thousand dollars. Another person may define wealth as financial independence to have all bills paid each month without consideration. Yet, another may define wealth as being spiritually fulfilled. If one isn’t specific about what he/she wants to accomplish, it will be more difficult to obtain it.
- Reflect on the past year for a baseline. This does not mean getting so bogged down in the previous year that the person becomes discouraged for the upcoming year. This reflection is an assessment so that person has a baseline to begin. In the losing weight example, the baseline would be the person’s weight and measurement prior to starting any weight loss program. It also probably should include a discussion with a physician or nutritionist regarding safe dieting and health.
- List wins and fails. It is beneficial to note if a goal has been attempted previously what actions were successful and which weren’t. This avoids wasting time repeating behavior that does not work and increases doing the things that do. Referring back to the weight loss example, a person may find that he/she is more motivated to swim than do aerobatics. So, why would that person register for an advanced aerobatics class? Studies have shown that many “can’t have diets” fail because the person feels hungry and deprived. Dieters who “limit” (e.g., portion control) but don’t “prohibit” their consumption of certain foods are more likely to be successful. However, this may be a slippery slope for some because once they do not adhere to the “limit.” They argue that the temptation to have a little is too great, and it is better to have none at all. Therefore, to determine a diet plan, the dieter may consider which method they previously had the most success using.
- Make a list of challenges and obstacles. What barriers stand in the way of achieving your goals? When a person knows what obstacles he/she faces, he/she is able to devise a strategy to avoid them. A coworker discussed having toxic friends who got into her head whenever she talked of a career change. They convinced her that she was making a mistake and that the situation would improve at her current job. And perhaps for a time, things did get better. However, it would always revert to misery. Months of being sedentary turned into a year. Now, the coworker has reservations about switching careers because of her age. She had this to say. “I think the advice from my friends wasn’t in my best interest but theirs. I think they wanted me to stay because they were staying. They knew I wasn’t happy, and instead of encouraging me to chase a dream, they convinced me I wasn’t being realistic. I can’t blame them entirely because I had no confidence in myself. If I did, I wouldn’t have listened. Instead, I empowered them to allow my fear to stifle my professional growth.” This leads to the next point.
- Be confident that the goal can be achieved. If you think you can, you will.
- Understand setbacks. Not-so-pleasant things happen. That does not mean it is the end of the road. If appropriately viewed, all setbacks can be learning experiences. Besides, they happen to everyone. If a plan is well-devised when a reversal occurs, all one needs to do is consider the options detailed in the strategic plan to continue moving forward.
- Purpose of goal. Sure, the purpose of a weight loss goal is obviously to lose weight. However, why does the person want to lose weight? Is it to fit into a dress for a special occasion? Is it to meet the requirement for a sport? Is it for health reasons? Or is it to impress someone else? Many years ago, a relative who was a nurse who was in her mid-sixties at the time revealed that her dream had been to be a mortician. When asked why she had never become one, she stated that her parents had pushed her to be a nurse because her older sister was a nurse. She adopted the path of being a nurse to please others and follow a path that others had laid for her. This is similar to the situation with the coworker who failed to leave her job. However, in this instance, it wasn’t fear or a lack of confidence that kept the relative from following her dreams. It was her desire for approval from her family. When setting goals, it is important that the person setting the goal actually wants to achieve the goal for himself/herself.
- Measurable steps. This is self-explanatory. Any goals set should be able to measure. With a weight loss goal, calorie intake and tracking weight are measurable steps. For becoming wealthy, counting money saved or gaining promotions are measurable steps. Without measurable steps, it’s difficult to determine progress.
- Accountability. It may be challenging, but anyone who has goals must weave measurements of responsibility into his/her goal plan. When a plan lacks accountability, it is easy to get off track and stay off. Several years ago, a friend had a goal to stop smoking. Each week, he deposited the money he would have spent on cigarettes into a special account that he planned to use partially to pay for a vacation to Fiji. As a punishment, if he decided to smoke, he had to smoke a cigarette from the pack he’d purchased before deciding to quit. The thing about this pack was that it had been opened, and the cigarettes had started to grow stale over time. Also, he’d accidentally left them outside, and they had gotten wet from the rain. The worse was that one of his brother’s cats had twinkled on it. He enlisted his family to watch him and be sure that if abided by his own rules. (If anyone is wondering, he was successful in quitting, but not before smoking a “cat special” cigarette. He has always said smoking it was so disgusting that he now gags each time he sees a cigarette.)
- Have achievable goals. Now listen. The sky is the limit, but at a certain point, the sky turns into space. Many years ago, a professor told the class a story of one of his clients who wanted to be a fireman. This was not an obtainable goal because the person was deaf, and his not being able to hear would make him a liability in a fire that he could not hear his coworker’s warnings and/or have smoke obstruct his view to read their lips or signs. However, the local volunteer fire department founds other ways that he could help (e.g., preparing the equipment and managing the firehouse). It was not a perfect solution, but at the time, it was the best anyone could devise.
With that said, that’s all that I have for today. What did you think? What is your take on the subject? Do you agree or disagree? Did you find this information helpful or informative? Did you learn anything new, or did it change your opinion? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. Also, let me know if you would like me to cover more of these types of topics or dive deeper into this one. If you like this post, please click the like button and share it. Your feedback allows me to know the content that you want to read. If you’re not following me on Creole Bayou blog, what are you waiting for? There’s always room at the bayou.
Get ready. It’s almost time to hit the ice again. Future Goals Coming soon.
When a college hockey player needs the help of an attractive older attorney, he gets more than he bargained for when trying to sort out the troubles in his career. Falling in love was never part of either man’s plan, especially as Corrigan’s and Sacha’s lives should never have collided. Now they’re left questioning if they’re standing in the way of the other’s future goals, or if there’s room for redirection.
Missed the first four books in my hockey romance series? No frets.
Out of the Penalty Box (book #1), where it is one minute in the box or a lifetime out, is available at http://amzn.to/2Bhnngw. It also can be ordered on iTunes, Nook, or Kobo. For more links on where to purchase or to read the blurb, please visit http://bit.ly/2i9SqpH.
For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays, and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou.