Are You Headed in the Right Direction?

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It is interesting that in very few areas of our life do we set goals for ourselves. They are usually outlined for us in our jobs. Then we may even make our own goals regarding when we want a pay raise or a promotion. Why is it that very few of us write personal goals? Because it takes time? Maybe we don't know what are goals would be. Have we convinced ourselves we know, but they are all in our heads? Have you ever said: "I will do it tomorrow." "I have to finish this project and then I will work on goals?" "What is a goal?" Most people spend more time planning a vacation then planning their lives.

Yogi Berra once said, "If you don't know where you are going in life, you're liable to wind up someplace else." So, now is time to make your first goal: Set aside a few hours to think about and write your goals. Go and get out your calendar and block out the time just like you would do for a Doctors appointment, haircut or baseball game.

Now, that you have committed yourself to setting your goals, I will give you some suggestion to help you on your way. When I was working in a corporate job, I attended a wonderful seminar that set me straight. These guidelines will work work perfectly for both people who stay home with their kids or who are working parents. These are suggestions...I am not an expert in this area.

Your goals could be organized into the following categories:

Family Goals - What kind of family life do I want?

Mental/Intellectual - How do I challenge myself to continued learning and development?

Physical - Am I taking care of myself through proper nutrition and exercise?

Spiritual - Do I understand my spiritual beliefs and the important daily role that it plays?

Social - Am I continuing to nurture friendships and becoming involved in community programs?

Financial - Is my job rewarding? Do I have a realistic monthly budget and goals for allocating a future pay increase?

These 6 categories are broad and they are meant to be. Now it is time for your working session to begin. Think about each category and then write down goals that you want to accomplish in the next month, by the end of the year and even what you want to achieve in five years. Then you will write down the steps to reach each of these goals. Now, you are saying this is too much work and you are about to skip this article and read something that is a no brainer. Am I right? Please don't go yet...

Let me show you some examples and you will see that it is not hard. It does take time but when you are done the satisfaction that you will have will be incredible. Let's look at FAMILY GOALS first.

IMPROVE COMMUNICATION:

- Spend 20 minutes talking to my spouse each night about our day without interruption ( I have read somewhere that you can call this couch time)
- Eat dinner as a family 5 nights a week
- Plan family vacations together
- Plan a special monthly activity to do alone with each child

SAVE $5000 TO BUY A NEW HOME:

- Only eat dinner out twice a month and save money toward down payment
- Prepare house to go on market. Organize one area each week e.g. clean basement

TEACH CHILDREN GOOD VALUES:

- Invite "good role model" friends over for dinner once a month
- Attend church/synagogue
- Find charitable activities to participate as a family 4 times a year e.g. clean up a river bed

See it is pretty simple once you get yourself focused. Let's try another category...MENTAL/INTELLECTUAL GOALS:

IMPROVE MY SKILLS:

- Read newspaper or trade journal with my morning coffee
- Read one inspiration book each month
- Plan 4 lunches each month to eat with someone whom I admire, who is an expert in my field or another field, whom I would like to know better.

CHECK-UP ON MYSELF:

- Plan a monthly meeting with myself to see how I am doing
- Talk to my spouse, manager about improvement ideas
- Schedule annual physical

After you go through each of the six areas and you write down your goals then the important part comes in...Don't put the paper away...post the goals on your refrigerator that pertain to the family, put work related goals into your work planner. The idea is to make them visible. It is also important to remember goals can be adjusted. If you reach a goal sooner than you thought then give yourself a new goal. Then pat yourself on the back for a job well done. One of my goals is to read a book a month. Each month that I do, I feel really proud and when I read two books boy you better watch out...I am so excited that I could burst! That is the point! You will feel so much better once you know what is important to you and that you are spending time in those areas. You can now say "No!" when it is not something that meets your goals and you can say "Yes!" when it does.

I would suggest that you look for some books on this topic to offer more in-depth insight. One that I have based this article on and have read and re-read is "Born to Win" by Lewis Timberlake (published 1986 by Tyndale)

Credits: Pamela Caywood

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