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Why should I bother putting together a formal goal plan? I know in my mind what I want and how to get there. Isn’t writing it down a waste of time?
Remember when you hadn’t established daily and weekly routines and life just sort of happened?
You struggled to get up in the morning because you stayed up too late the night before; you put off doing the things you didn’t like to do and succumbed to however you felt at the moment. And most of the time, life was chaotic, unpredictable and unsatisfying.
Without a formal goal plan, our goals remain vague.
Without specific, defined goals, our lives often resemble a piece of wood floating down a river; at the mercy of the current, wind, rocks and sandy beaches. We live life so fast we lose control, or become beached, stuck, with no way to move. We set ourselves up for disaster.
A formal goal plan keeps us on track.
Everyone has big dreams and good intentions, but the formal plan of action is the vehicle that will help us achieve them. It keeps us motivated when we are tired or when unexpected obstacles arise.
Setting goals puts action behind dreams and desires and involve careful thought on what is important to you.
Goals focus on what you can do – instead of what you can’t.
It is saying to yourself there is more to life than simply getting up every morning, going to work, grabbing some fun time whenever you can and living the same static life day in and day out. When we set goals, we are saying to ourselves, we are worth more than that. It is saying, I have talents and abilities that I can and want to develop.
The goals we set are for us, not anyone else.
You may be motivated by a desire to take care of your family, be a better person, or live a more meaningful life. But these are still your goals.
Many people set goals that reflect the wishes of parents who wanted us to be successful by making a lot of money or to be in a particular profession. Many times, we unconsciously live in ways to meet the demands from our childhood or from others. But goals that are defined in that way seldom make us or anyone else happy. Instead we will feel unsatisfied and discontented.
Setting personal goals energizes our life.
There are costs and benefits to everything we do. The benefit to doing whatever you feel like in the moment is you don’t have to plan. The cost is you rarely feel good for very long and you are at the mercy of people and events.
Although the cost to setting goals is time and effort, the results are satisfaction, pride in accomplishment, lower stress levels and knowing that you are in charge of your life.
Goals take time, determination, hard work, and dealing with setbacks.
Goals will require you to be flexible. Sometimes we will be required to change our goals. But when we take charge of our lives, setting goals becomes a habit that allows you to maximize the most of your time and your talents in any situation.
There is no greater energizer than saying, yes, I can, and figuring out a way to do it. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing you have set out to do something and have accomplished it.
In setting goals, it is important to consider all the areas of your life. Don’t just set goals for work.
Take a piece of paper and draw a large circle, like a large pie.
Then divide this circle into slices that represent the different areas of your life. We can break it down something like this: a slice for physical needs, another for spiritual, financial, one for educational or mental, another for social, family, and relationships.
As you look at the circle of your life, and the divisions you have made, what percentage of time would you estimate you spend in each of those areas?
How does the amount of time spent in one area affect the other areas?
If you spend all your time working on one area in your life while ignoring other areas, your life will suffer.
Stay tuned for my next few posts, where we’ll create a goal plan step-by-step, and I’ll show you a case study of one of my own goals.
Marlene Anderson, MA, LMHC, NCC
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