Setting Goals (1st post in a series of posts on goals)

 

Memorial Day_The Unoffical Start of SummerMemorial Day, and the unofficial start of summer in New England is this coming weekend!  To start off a this new season, I will be writing a series of posts on writing goals.   The series starts with the post, on the importance and rationale of goal writing.   Later, I will give specific tips and methods to help you achieve your goals.  (Of course, some of these tips will use technology aimed at helping you improve your life.)

Personally, I whole heartedly believe that writing goals can help you to set your course and create the life that you want.

Without goals, life is like a boat without a chartered course.  That is, while boats without a chartered course do move, they don’t necessarily have a specific destination and are much more likely to go adrift.   Without well-defined goals, you are like an unchartered boat; you will move, but you could look back and find that you traveled in a circle, back at the same place that you started.

I don’t know about you, but I WANT A SAY IN MY DESTINATION.
IMG_2535My first experience with formal goal writing occurred when I took a class with women’s business coach, Ali Brown.   She strongly encouraged us to write goals for different aspects of our life, and place them in a prominent place in our wallet.  These goals were written on nice paper, in our best penmanship, with our favorite pen.    We were also encouraged to purchase a brand new wallet, and make sure that it was organized.

I wasn’t sure why this exercise was necessary.  I knew what I wanted, and I generally try to achieve what I want in life.  Overall, I have always been a structured, goal oriented person.   So why did I have to specifically tell the universe what I wanted?

Well, not so long after I asked the question regarding the importance of be specific regarding what you want, I got my answer….although my answer had nothing to do with the goals that I had written.

Unrelated to anything to do with goals, I asked people at my fitness studio (Auburn Yoga & Pilates) if any of them had a MagicBullet, a fancy blender.   I basically wanted to know if it was worth buying one, or if it did the same thing as my regular blender.   The AYPC members convinced me that the MagicBullet was a great investment, and that I should buy one.    Convinced, I told the AYPC members that I would be buying the new blender on their suggestion. IMG_2563

Then, the very next day, out of the blue, my mother called me to ask “if I had any interest in a magic bullet”…My sister-in-law had upgraded her MagicBullet to a NutriBullet and had one to give away.

The universe works in mysterious ways!

I had never spoken to my mother, or any member of my family, about wanting a MagicBullet.  But, I told the universe, with certainty, that I wanted this new gadget…and the universe helped to get it.

1stgoalsOf course, it could have been a coincidence, but it is a strange coincidence.    It made me think, and it made me realize that this had happened to me before.   In the past, I have said, “I think that I think that I might like to…” and had the opportunity afforded to me at some point in the future.

Does this mean that you can have unrealistic expectations and expect them to come true?   Of course not!   I will never play professional basketball, even if I write it on pretty paper and place it in a prominent place!    Your goals have to be realistic and attainable.

This doesn’t mean that your goals are unrealistic if they are “a little bit of a stretch.”   I personally believe that they should be a little bit of a stretch.    We need to stretch ourselves.  We need to believe in our divine potential.   We need to know that it is possible to attain many of our goals with persistent, consistent effort.

Edwin Locke did seminal work on goal setting.  His research found that hard goals produce higher performance (Locke, 1968).   He also found that specific, hard goals produce a higher level of output than a generic goal of “do your best” (Locke, 1968).

In other words, YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS WHEN YOUR GOALS ARE WELL DEFINED.

I took the Ali Brown class back in 2014.   I wrote one professional goal, on relationship goal, and one financial.

I wrote that I would achieve the goals that I wrote before the spring of 2015.

I didn’t reach the three goals by the spring of 2015.

But, I am happy to report that I DID MEET ALL THREE GOALS by the beginning of 2016.

You need to say what you want, to get what you want.   You need to be reminded of your goals on a daily (or almost daily) basis so that you will be reminded to direct your actions in ways that will bring you closer to achieving your goals.

If you are interested in writing your own goals, like my Facebook page to be notified of the next post, “How to Write a Goal”

 

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