Category Archives: improving

Goal Setting: Some Steps to Set A New List of Goals

Creating your initial set of goals can start you down a path that will change your life for the better.

Many studies of successful people have shown one common difference between them and the rest of society is that they set and achieve goals.

We’ll assume here that you’ve already determined that the direction your heading is right for you, those you influence, and your well-examined belief system. For:

“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” –Seneca

A question that must be answered during this process is:

“What should I become and what changes should occur in my environment?”

I like the idea of what “should” occur over what I “want” to occur, because this wording includes more that just satisfying the your whims. Our task is to create goals that meet our greater aspirations.

If you haven’t yet tried goal setting in your life, I would encourage you to give it a try and see if you don’t notice greater changes in your life when more thought and direction are behind your actions.

What are Goals?

A goal is a future achievement with deadlines you can take action to meet. More simply:

A goal is a choice.

Each goal in the list should meet the criteria of being exciting and moving to you. Otherwise, there would be little reason for you to complete them. Fortunately, it should follow that if these goals truly satisfy your belief system they should naturally have the characteristics of being exciting and moving.

These goals should not be expected to be “perfect”. If you are worried about them not being good enough remember that changing them as we move forward is an important aspect of goals.

Steps

1. Prepare

I believe it is important to also set aside some time for this process, so you don’t feel rushed or harried.

At the beginning you want to be open to all ideas. We can pare down to the ones you feel are worthy to be committed to later. For now, we need your most inventive and creative self to come out and create some ideas.

If you do better with music some non-distracting music without lyrics might be helpful, but only if it’s motivating to you.

This is when we need to look at our life in the most realistic light. If you can’t see what you don’t like then you wouldn’t make goals for changing those aspects. Try to be as real with yourself as you can. After you have your goals you might want to go over what you are grateful for in this life or think about how these goals will make changes to shake yourself out of this mood.

2. Categorize

Make some categories that you care about so you can brainstorm within them. This will keep you from focusing only on your relationships or only on your career. You are making goals for your life as a whole not just a part of it. Here are some ideas, but feel free to change them or add your own:

  • Spiritual
  • Health
  • Financial
  • Relationships (including family, friends, coworkers, etc.)
  • Career
  • Giving
  • Security
  • Vacation
  • Learning

3. Brainstorm New Goals

Start thinking of ideas within the categories that you’ve chosen. You can evaluate each one later, just try to let your creative side give you as many goals as you can so you’ll have a lot to choose from. What you hope to do is give yourself some new thoughts so that you might realize there are some goals you haven’t even thought of yet that may actually be very important to you. These are YOUR goals and should reflect what you think about the world, don’t worry about judgments. You don’t have to let anyone see your goal if it would discourage you.

Give yourself about 10 minutes. You can do a few more if you are feeling inspired or a few less if the ideas aren’t flowing.

Here are some ideas for goals. It’s ok to use exciting words and hyperbole if it gets you more excited about the goal. It starts with the dream before reality has a chance. Give yourself permission to overshoot if it’s something you really want for your life, you just might find it’s achievable!:

  • Master a new skill (Japanese, computer programming, karate, etc.)
  • Start the successful company that will redefine your industry
  • Date/Marry the person that matches your wish list
  • Purge your body of toxins through vegetarianism
  • Buy that thing you want this year while meeting your qualifications for security (Car, House, Boat, Plane, etc.)
  • Make the trip that will match your dreams and provide for contingencies
  • Gain mastery of meditation
  • Become physically fit through exercise, better eating and proper rest

4. Prioritize

Order the goals in each category from the most important to the least. Feel free to discard any goals if you realize they don’t meet you rules about how your life should be.

5. Choose the Most Important Goals

From this list select now the most important goals. The ones that are the most important to your life right now. Take on what you think you can accomplish in a reasonable amount of time.

6. Set Timelines

You need to know when you expect these goals to be met to seriously commit to their completion. Be realistic and consider that you may not have all the knowledge of what may be challenges as you progress in these goals. Be generous and you can give ranges to the completion time if you think it’s appropriate.

7. Commit

Now that you have a list is it one you can fully commit to? You should be able to tell your realistic critics about your list without fear if you have come to the point where you have decided on these choices. If you don’t feel committed you should review your goals again. If your tired from creating your list you can take a break and schedule a new time to review and edit your goals, but don’t go ahead with goals you aren’t committed to completing. That would sabotage your goals from the very beginning.

8. Create an Strategic Plan

List steps to get to your goal. This may require making new sub-goals if your goal turns out to be too large. Don’t hesitate to break up goals if it will help you focus on what you need to do. Think of these steps as guideposts on the way to the finish line. It’s also ok to acknowledge these steps as you are able to complete them. You should have positive feelings as you check off milestones.

9. Do Something in Each Category

To kick-start your list and get your entire life moving in a new direction. Do something to make a positive difference in each category. This could be anything from arranging a new meeting to working out for 30 minutes or calling someone just to let them know you love them. This start on each of your goals will mark the new beginning. Then, all that remains is to keep that ball rolling.

10. Keep going

Schedule your follow-up times to reevaluate your progress and your goals. If you don’t take the time to adjust to circumstances it’s just as bad as if you had started in the wrong direction at the beginning. Keep checking that you are heading where you want to go and you will surely get there! I wish you all the best in your new endeavors!

Day 1

Starting something new seems to have very bad connotations to most people. I think most people feel like they have to make a lot of progress in a new endeavor before feeling like they can share it with the people around them. I think we have to break out of this fear and try something new more often. It’s not so bad to be new at something or to make mistakes along the way, basically that’s what life is going to be like anyway. If you do keep trying new activities, maybe you’ll find your new passion in life along with other people to share it with. Also, the more we fill our lives with good activities that we’ve decided we want to do, the more old, negative behaviors will fall away. Give it a try and see what you think. Try something new today and let me know what you’ve started. I’ll be doing some new strength training exercises that I’ve been putting off.

Let’s go

When you take things out of your life you should also take things up. This is an important rule to remember, especially for Christians at this time. Our church reminded us of this idea and I strongly agree. I believe that unless you fill your life with new things the old ones you want to prune away cannot be let go or forgotten. The mind tends to hold on to the thought of what it is giving up or losing rather than what you would gain by the change. I’ll be working on improving my overall health and well-being by giving up bad-eating habits, but I’ll also be increasing my updates this site to continue to provide what I can for my readers.

Do you have things that need to change in your life; old automatic activities that no longer help you or are you neglecting new activities that you know you should commit to? This is a great time to let go of old habits and begin new ones. We’re through January 1st and its easily dismissed resolutions. However, we’re still in winter when we can prepare before spring and summer which tend to be too filled with activities to be able to plan.

If you want change over a few days, 40 days or a lifetime, let me know what you’d like to change. Just making a plan and telling someone can give you the push to keep going past when you would have quit an internally held promise. Whether you let me know or not, all the best in all your endevours!

Commitment

What does commitment mean to you? On the web, I find most of the talk of commitment to be talking about men and their fear of commitment to a relationship, but I’m talking about the commitment to a stated or written goal. When you create a goal what things will get in the way of accomplishing that task?

Too many people use any failure as an excuse to quit the goal completely. Everything you’ve done so far up to the present moment should push you forward to make the new reality occur rather than every missed opportunity causing doubt and keeping you from continuing.

I am committed to my goals and I will press ahead on them unless catastrophic problems arise. You can recognize these problems because they simply cannot be dismissed. I will also review and set new goals on a consistent schedule. What new task can drive you to new motivation?

The Platform is Moving Up

As long as I’m capable, I’m trying to increase my qualities and capabilities in the various important parts of my life. One way to view it as if I’m on a platform and it’s moving up. You may catch me and get ahead of me or already be ahead, but as long as I’ve been pushing myself to keep improving I’ll feel validated.

If we let life take hold and control our lives we’ll be sinking, so it takes a concerted effort to fight against the natural pull down, but it’s worth it as you become and are capable of more. I’ve seen too many people lose what they value in life due to just trying to survive as they continuously decline. Don’t fall into the trap of “getting by” or following the behavior of your peers. Push to succeed over your challenges and when you get to a new level acknowledge that you’ve made it and look up for the next one.

It’s important to know when you don’t have the control in your life to be able to keep growing, but it’s equally important to notice when the control is back in your hands. Also, people may not deal well with what you’ve accomplished, but I believe it’s their fear of what they could be capable of that causes them to be uncomfortable with your success. Be patient with those who criticize you and remember that you were in similar or worse situations than they were in your life. Look for those who will support and challenge you to go even further, I’ll be that person for you if you would like.

Quick change

Cast on broken arm   Yesterday, I was asked in a comment if I could post about how to change quickly. I gave this a lot of thought and I believe my recent wrist injury makes a nice example for a process of changing a life.
   Last week I broke the head of my radius and now I have this nice, blue cast. It is certainly a new challenge that life has given me, but it could just as easily have been brought on by my own misconceptions or false beliefs. For example, the idea that a step down from a stage would be secure and not be allowed to roll forward when stepped upon.
   When we start to desire a change in our lives the first step is to have an idea of what we want, in this case a normally functioning arm. I’ve followed that with ice packing  the wound, taking anti-swelling medication, consulting experts (doctors) and following their advice by allowing them to treat me. Next, I can follow their finger exercises and precautions, research more, expect healing and pray. But, and this is the important part, barring a miracle or any further complications this goal will take about 4-6 weeks to heal and more to restrengthen and become as good as ever. Now, this obviously isn’t the most important task in my life, but let’s imagine it is: 4-6 weeks. Let’s say it’s everyone’s most important task: 4-6 weeks. Alright, maybe a day or so saved for some amount of human ingenuity that I can’t anticipate.
   Now, if I’m basically correct in all this how should I feel about it? I could be mad that life or my mistake has put this on me, I could fear the future and the strong possibility of further injury if I continue to live a full life. But to be fair and at the same time continue to work on effectiveness, I would recommend acceptance and gratitude for every day that my arm helped me, for having a better arm, and for the amazing healing time of the human body.
   We can make huge changes in ourselves, our destiny, but the quick change is the heading, not getting the eventual result. To be strong we have to strengthen (over time). To lose weight we have to approach a healthy weight through great eating and great exercise (over time). To become rich there are many paths most of which that maintain our other standards take time.
   I don’t want to discourage people from looking for shortcuts in life. Looking is certainly the only way you can find. But at some point there are costs to our desires and often that cost includes an amount of time. I want to challenge you to determine your goals, become more able to achieve them, see your problems for what they are and reach your goals. One last problem with time is that at the end of that process it all starts over again. If you race to the finish line you also race to the start.
   Thanks for the suggestion, I hope this is helpful and if you do manage to come up for an effective solution to time let me know, I occasionally get itches under this thing.

Going Through Our Goals

   It’s a very common idea that when making goals it’s important to remember to make them (SMART) specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound and write them down so that they are remembered.

   I would add that when we make goals we’ve got to think of them as objectives to go through to start heading to the next one. Don’t make goals that mean you would quit moving forward in a certain area. For example, some people see retirement as an end of work, but not as a beginning of a whole new life. Losing a certain amount of weight is a good goal, but when it is achieved we can still work on our health and well-being. Even “I’ll run to that next tree” can be “I’ll run at least to that next tree” that way you don’t limit what could be a greater success. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t rest or reward yourself if these activities are helpful, but don’t let your successes let you forget that the road of your goals keeps going past where you said you should arrive.

I Forgot

   Steve Martin has a great comedy routine where you can get out of any difficult situation by just saying “I forgot”. If you rob a bank, just say “I forgot it was illegal”.

   I have found that when you make a lot of positive changes in your life they start to take over and when you look back you realize that you’ve forgotten to do some of the negative things in your life. You forgot to be dependent on that thing that used to drive you, you forgot to tell yourself you couldn’t do that thing you feared before. Sometimes it really is OK to say “I forgot” and be glad about it.

Resisting Useful Knowledge

According to George Carlin, Thomas Raynesford Lounsbury said: “It never ceases to surprise me at the infinite capacity of the human mind to resist the introduction of useful knowlege.” My idea is that people do have an extrememly low retention rate for new and useful information.
Here are some examples of groups trying to get around this obstacle:
  • The University of Connecticut are changing their approach to teaching students: http://advance.uconn.edu/1997/970912/09129710.htm
  • The “Head First” computer books by the O’reilly publishers use images, puzzles, conversational language and emotion to get the reader to have a greater connection with the material in order to increase retention.
  • Anthony Robbins gets his audience to move and to act on his advice during the presentation in order to make the activities practiced instead of just heard. He claims the sitting/bored state does not enable retention.
  • A mathematition that spoke for TED uses real-life examples instead of just thoery to get his students thinking and discussing instead of following instructions.
  • Another TED speaker compared the classroom environment to the industrial age where people were told what to do and were not expected to think.
  • Active learning has been around since the time of Socrates: http://www.vcu.edu/cte/resources/tlc/2_2_active_learning.htm

    If you’re alive, you’re still learning and it’s important for you to use techniques to increase your retention and habits of putting the information to use. Using techniques like these and others, a Life Coach can speed up your ability to move from information to retention to use to habit getting you measureable results.

We are what we consistently do;
excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
Aristotle