Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Yes indeed - it is that time of year again. Did you make any resolutions? Still sticking to them? It is the 6th afterall! I have kind of gotten away from making resolutions the past few years. Instead I focus on setting goals. To me, these are different things.They share common threads but I find often resolutions are made because it is the thing to do. There isn't a real plan behind them.

Goals, however, must have a plan. There is a cliche that states that goals are dreams with a deadline. I've learned a lot about goal-setting over the last several years and am in the process of formulating this year's goals. What do I want to accomplish? What will this year look like? At the end of this year, how will I measure success? What does that mean for me? I say for me because success is a very individual thing measured differently by different people. That is the first step in setting goals - figuring out your own definition of success. Do not base this on what you think it should be or what you think others expect of you. It has to be based on your true self and what will bring you that sense of accomplishment.

So, here is one of the things I've learned about setting goals. It's a simple acronym but it makes a lot of sense. Goals should be SMART:

So look at the difference:
I want to lose weight - not a goal, just a statement of desire.
How about this: I will lose 10 pounds by July 1st by exercising 3 times a week and cutting out snacking after 8PM.
See the difference? Which person do you think will reach her goal?
Notice also the difference in language: the first one said "I want" while the second one said "I will". There is a difference between desire and decision. Let me say that again: There is a difference between desire and decision. Language is very important. I was sent a video this morning and the opening of it said "If we spoke to our friends the way we speak to ourselves, how many friends would we have?" Wow - think about that! You need to value and love and cherish yourself!

So when you are setting your goals for the year (or whatever time period you are setting them for), remember that. Are your goals such that you are showing yourself value? Where do you put yourself on your totem pole? Are you even on the totem pole or is it too full of looking after everyone else? Last year one of my goals was to find balance. I don't think I'm there yet but I have come a long way. I will continue to work on this. One of the things I started doing was scheduling "me time". At first it feels selfish. There I am sitting at Starbucks with a good book and a latte while there is laundry, cleaning and phone calls to make. But it's like I've said so many times before: on an airplane, you put on your own oxygen mask first before you try to help anyone else. My oxygen mask just happens to drip espresso. Sometimes it's a hot bath in the middle of the day, sometimes it's going for a walk or to the library. Whatever recharges your batteries, make sure you take some time to do it. I started with an hour a month and have worked up from there.

So as you think about the coming year and all of it's possibilities, make sure that the goals you make and the way you measure success are in line with what truly gives you joy and fills your cup.

Here's to a year of possibilities! Go out and grab it!


Geosomin said...

I totally agree. I kept failing at lofty goals until I just picked a concrete thing to do and did it...and then an other...and then another...and bit by bit I go thealthy by *doing* things. Little things that I could control and feel good about. HAving a plan is great, but if you don't have any way to do it it doesn't happen, no matter how much you want it to.
I just got reminded of this - I have a bellydance recital in Feb, and I hadn't been practicing near enough for it, and kept wimbling about how I wasn't getting any better. Practicing and making efforts to meet concrete goals and breaking down the learning into sizable chunks has gotten me up and at the practicing again...and perhaps I won't make a fool of myself next month :)

I still ahve trouble scheduling "me" time, but you're right...if you don't, you wear thin and begin to resent the very people you love and are trying to help because you feel shortchanges or tired. Finding things "just for me"...little things. It can make all the difference.

How's you get so wise all sneakily behind my back :)

Geosomin said...

PS - I can't type...