As the new year begins, everyone is excited, and rightfully so, to start the year on a new and fresh foot.
Losing weight, focusing on fitness, spending more time with family, or becoming more balanced are among the common objectives many of us set for ourselves. The hard thing is, once February hits, our willpower to reach our goals often diminishes into the daylight just as quickly as we set them. Trust me, I am guilty of this, too.
The truth is life gets in the way sometimes, and I am here to tell you that is okay. Side note: When life does happen, be kind to yourself.
But, here is what I have found from experience: When setting your goals, no matter what the occasion, it is beneficial to check yourself to see if the goals you are setting are even the goals you truly need the MOST.
Here are guiding questions that I have created and written down over the past three years. I read these often whenever I need a swift kick of remembrance of what matters when setting goals. Also, when teaching, I show these questions to my students as well, while sharing my goal-setting stories and struggles. After all, goal setting needs to go beyond academics.
-What goal will bring the most meaning to my life?
In education, we have “power standards” to choose from which will bring the biggest bang for your buck when teaching and learning; This same theory can be applied to setting goals. We all would love to improve ourselves in a variety of aspects of our lives, but Rome was not built in a day, and neither are strong, accomplished individuals. Ask yourself: What goal will bring the most meaning to my life? Then, go for it!
-Am I focusing on what matters?
This question is THE question that rattles me the most. Sometimes what I think matters the most to me in certain moments, is not what REALLY matters. It is easy to get caught up in the nuances of life- Almost too easy. If this question shakes you to your core as well, get a trusted outside opinion of your goals as you set them. I often ask Adam, my fiancee, his thoughts about the goals I set, so he can refocus me when I become cloudy.
-Am I setting the bar for myself too low?
If you set the bar low, you will hit it every single time. We often are more scared of achieving than we are of losing. Do not misinterpret this as setting completely unrealistic expectations. I believe that no dream is too big, but you have to pair that idea with real-life action steps.
-How will achieving my target help the well-being of others?
Goal-setting needs to move beyond “me” into “WE.” How is what you are aiming to achieve going to benefit others beyond yourself? Improving yourself is a beautiful thing, but if this improvement can also inspire others along the way, THEN you have created magic.
-Have I prepared mini-short-term steps and long-term steps to take along my journey?
As Tony Robbins says, people who are inventors create and design everything twice: Once in your imagination, and twice in reality.
Now, take this theory and transfer it to goal-setting. As you set goals, you are the inventor. But, it takes laying out the design, tenacity, and trial and error to find the right recipe for YOUR personal success. Always remember- What works for ____________(Insert name here), may not work for me.
-Am I trying to press the fast-forward button on my life without enjoying the present moment?
Life is short. Are we enjoying each beautiful moment giving to us? OR are we trying to wish ourselves OUT of the current moment we are living in to be catapulted into something better?
When I was a child, I spent most of my years trying too hard to grow up as fast as I could. Now, I look back and wish I could have told myself to JUST BE. Sometimes, that little girl inside me now still needs that reminder.
I hope this checklist of sorts helps you in some small way. Here’s to achieving all you were born to achieve and giving yourself grace when you fall.
I believe in you,