Last month, setting “New Year’s goals” was all the rage everywhere you looked. Everyone scribbled down hopes and dreams for an amazing year, and the magical list was taped to the side of the refrigerator.
Here we are a month or so later, and your progress (or lack of progress) is staring you in the face. And it’s not necessarily a pretty sight.
You know what I’m talking about, right?
Maybe the number on the scale has gone up, while the amount in the savings account has gone down. The tennis shoes have sat unused for the past month. The organizational plan is buried somewhere under a pile of clutter.
Basically, even though the goals were written down on a piece of paper and taped to the fridge, normal life has still been very normal. Unfortunately, all that list of goals really accomplished was making you feel like hopeless failures.
I’ve been there and done that pretty much every year of my very long life, so I know exactly what that’s like.
I’m a chronic goal-failure.
I actually sat down back in the fall when I got a brand new planner and wrote out goals that I thought were pretty good. I spent a lot of time evaluating what was important to me and setting goals that would (hopefully) make a difference in my life.
Unfortunately, even though my goals were better than usual, they didn’t really move me in the right direction. Several months later I still hadn’t made much progress or many improvements.
Since goal-setting is an area I’ve struggled with for so long, and even last-year’s best effort was a flop, I decided to take an ecourse on setting goals. I figured it would be totally worth the time and effort if it helped me be more productive and finally make some of the changes I’ve been writing down on my goals lists for years.
That just might be the best few dollars I’ll spend this year. I’m going through the Make Over Your Year eCourse super-slowly and listening to the hour-long teaching videos a couple of times before doing the homework because I’m trying to really apply everything there is to learn.
For the first time in my life (hey, that’s a long time!), I finally have a list of goals that could have a positive impact on me and my family, and they’re truly reachable. I’ve been waking up every day feeling so excited about implementing changes and taking steps towards my goals. Score!
Helpful Tips if You’re Goal-Challenged (Like Me!)
After setting failed goals for several years and then setting some better-but-not-good-enough goals a few months ago, I’ve learned some things this time around.
I was tired of failing again and again. I made some big changes in my process of goal setting (things I learned in Make Over Your Year), and I changed my mindset towards my goals. The difference has been night and day, and I can’t believe how much progress I’m making alreay.
Even if you’re goal-challenged (like I am), you really can overcome your obstacles to finally reach some positive goals!
1. Don’t worry about the starting date.
It really, truly doesn’t matter if you start your goals in January, at the beginning of summer, or on the kids’ first day back to school. The only thing that matters is how they change and improve your life. Just start today!
2. No goals are set in stone.
If a goal isn’t working for you, it’s okay to abandon it or change it to be a better fit. If it’s too big, make it smaller. If it isn’t important to you anymore, drop it. If it isn’t motivating you to take action, then go back to the drawing board.
3. Set your goal, then take it down a notch.
It’s better to set a small goal that you can reach and then bump it up, rather than setting an unreachable goal that causes you to quit before getting started. For example, in the fall I set a goal to read twenty-four books this year. I’m sure I could do it if I wanted to, but since I was already falling behind, I changed my new goal to twelve books. I can always read more, but this smaller number makes me feel like anything is possible.
4. Don’t write down things you already do, even if they’re important to you.
If something is already a part of your normal life and you already do it without much effort, it shouldn’t be written down as a goal. For me, I wanted to write down a goal of having a daily Bible reading time, but I already do that every day without difficulty. It can still be important to me, even though I didn’t write it down as one of my goals.
5. Just because it’s not on your list, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
Don’t write down ever single thing you want to do or accomplish this year. Your list will simply be too long. You can still find ways to save money, get in shape, and improve your relationships, even if those things don’t make it onto your list.
Take some time to refine your list NOW!
Don’t get hung up on the fact that you’ve dropped the ball on some (or all!) of the goals you set. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. Today is a new day, and you can give yourself a fresh start right now!
Grab your list off the side of the refrigerator and start tweaking and refining it into a set of goals you can actually reach. If needed, toss that old list into the trash and write down a small handful of new goals that you can accomplish in real life.
Just remember that while the point of setting goals is to improve your life, your goals shouldn’t be seen as either a magic wand or a measuring stick. Your goals aren’t going to “fix” your life. Only God can do that. And reaching your goals isn’t going to make you worth more as a person. Only Jesus can impart that kind of value.
So don’t waste time regretting what you didn’t do or feeling bad that you won’t do more in the future. Just eliminate what isn’t working and concentrate on a few things that are important you.
Whatever the day of the week or the month of the year, take some time to think about where you want to be a month from now and take action to make it happen.
You can do it!