I remember a time when my Christmas newsletter was written, printed, in postage paid envelopes, hand written notes on all 125 of them, and ready to be mailed by December 1st. I'm not sure where that woman went. And as I think about it, I am not sure whether I really want her back?
It's the time of year when billboards, commercials and magazine articles are filled with advertisements to join XYZ gym or to lose weight. Ads even line the walls in public restroom stalls; you can't escape it. We are now half way through what might be called, guilted into doing it January. Countless scientific studies have proven that up to 100% of New Year's Resolutions are broken by February 17th. Okay, some studies actually claim there are 5% of people who actually keep their resolutions. I don't know if any of these people, do you? Either way, it is the minority that keep resolutions, not the majority. Have you made New Year's resolutions? If so, how are you doing in the resolution keeping category? Or, are you one of those people who figures you will just break them so why even make them?
Age makes you do more soul searching, or maybe it's the hormones. Either way, contemplation has been one of my main activities the past few months which has lead to a desire is to be more intentional in making goals that matter. For example, does having my newsletter mailed out on the first day of December really matter in the scheme of eternity? Or does having a newsletter at all matter? What does God really desire of me? What aligns with His purpose for my life and how He designed me? Setting goals is not a bad thing, what we need to ask is, 'are we setting the right goals?' I like the word goals rather than resolution because it seems less cliché.
So, how do I set the right goals and succeed in keeping them? Here are some ideas.
First, determine what energizes you. What makes you smile from the top of your head down to your tippy toes? These are the things that God has designed you for. Do MORE of these things and get your goal aligned with them. If more of your goals are about improving your weaknesses you will be like the majority who break their resolutions. For a more extended version of this idea check out Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham.
Second, have a mission/purpose statement for your life. Write it out in 10 words or less. Unless you know where you want to go in life, your goals will not get your there. Your life statement should be based on your spiritual gifts and how God designed you. These things fuel your tank and give you more energy even after a long day of activities. Take a look at Get More Done in Less Time, by Donna Otto.
Third, pick goals based on your life statement and write them down. Ask yourself “how does each goal line up with my purpose/mission statement?” If they don't line up, cross them off. Now put your written list where you can see if often. For help here, check out Life Mapping, by Dr. John Trent.
Lastly, but most importantly, write down HOW you are going to accomplish these goals. If you don't have a plan to get them done they are likely to just be words on paper at the end of the year. Remember the old adage, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
When I look at my goal list for 2010 I am energized, excited, and ready to take them on. Some are things that are difficult, like listening to 12 hours of Greek and Roman history. But, each is necessary to accomplish a bigger goal of mine. For example, the Greek and Roman history is a step toward writing a historical fiction novel. How about you? What are your big bodacious dreams? Have you broken them down into realistic goals? Are they in writing? If not, what are you waiting for?