Start the New Year Right

Happy New Year, everybody! Can you believe it is 2014? I’m so excited about accomplishing new things this year. I can’t wait to see what adventures this year brings. How about you?

What are your goals and dreams for the New Year? Need to lose those 20 pounds you’ve been carrying around? Get your financial house in order? Or maybe declutter the junk in the house you’ve been accumulating over the years?

Now I’m a big believer in goals and have been setting them since I was a child, believe it or not. There is something about having a vision for my life and a goal to work towards that gives me energy and motivates me to move forward in life. Achieving a worthwhile goal builds my confidence and gives me an inner satisfaction.

In case you missed my post on setting goals last year, I talked about making SMART goals. A good goal must be:
S – specific – clearly stated
M – measureable – must be quantifiable
A – achievable – must be realistic
R – relevant – must be important to you
T- time bound – set a date to accomplish it by

A second major component to achieving our goals is we need to have a PLAN. It’s not enough to state our goals out loud, publish them on Facebook, or note them in a journal. Without a plan to implement our goals we will fail miserably. I’ve heard it said “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Make sense?

I break my life into 5 major areas and create a goal for each of those areas. Let’s say, in the area of fitness, I want to lose 10 pounds by the end of the year. The next thing I need to do is list 3 – 5 action steps I am going to start immediately to accomplish each goal. Action steps for losing the 10 pounds might be:

1. Take a brisk walk for 30 minutes every day.
2. Ask myself if I am really feeling hunger before I eat something.
3. Reduce the amount of fats, sweets, and salt I consume by half.

The third component of achieving my goals is the most important. Without this component, we will surely fail. We must learn to develop the power of Faith. I must BELIEVE I can accomplish what I set out to do and that God is going to give me the grace to do it. Faith is  KEY to accomplishing anything good in life but it must be backed up with action steps and of course, prayer.

So, write and share one of your goals with me. If you need help defining your goals, write me and I’ll help you out. Until next time, keep looking up!

Goal Setting 101

Have you set some goals for the New Year yet? If so, are they SMART? Today I would like to share three tips on setting goals to ensure they are achievable and worthwhile. SMART goals, as they say in the business world, have the following characteristics.

1) S- stands for specific, not vague.
2) M – stands for measureable, quantifiable. How will it be measured?
3) A – achievable, action-oriented not ridiculous.
4) R – realistic – do I really want to achieve this goal? Why?
5) T – time bound. A determined timeframe is established when the goal will be finished.

Let’s take the example of exercise. A smart goal would be “I will exercise at my target heart rate for 30 minutes 3 – 4 times a week to improve my cardiovascular health & reduce my blood pressure.” This means 1) I will find out what my target heart rate actually should be so that I am working out hard enough to make a difference and 2) I have connected my goal to my long range purpose for my life i.e living a long and healthy life.

The second point I want to make is that in order to make a significant change in our behavior, we must first take on a new perspective on how we perceive the issue. For example, if you have always said “I hate to exercise”, then my suggestion is to reframe that perception to something positive such as “Exercise is good for my health and is enjoyable when I find the right activity to pursue.” In other words, we must change the way we think about things in order for our behaviors to follow suit.

And last, but certainly not least, have faith that you can achieve your goals. Have a vision of yourself in that size 6 little black dress or riding that motorcycle, climbing that mountain, or writing that book. Faith is the belief in things not yet seen which means we need to see them happening and pull them into our present by our thoughts and prayers.

Setting the right kind of goals can motivate us to succeed. They challenge us in our lives. Reaching a goal gives us courage to climb a bigger mountain next time. I know. I’ve climbed lots of them, all by the grace of God.

I hope this post has encouraged you to make some changes in your life. If you are new to goal-setting, start small. You will be amazed at the renewed zest for life you will feel when you begin making positive changes.

Until next time, keep the faith and keep looking up!