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A new perspective on goal setting

Happy New Year friends! Yes, it’s officially 1 month into it, but if you’re like me, you’re still getting used to writing 2019 and are probably still ironing out your goals/resolutions/visions for the new year. So speaking of goals, I wanted to write a little bit about that today. I’ve personally been setting goals since I was a young girl. I was a competitive gymnast and I used to set goals for the score I wanted to get on each event for each meet. I would write the score on a little piece of paper and I would put it inside my shoe, which totally dates me that I wore gymnastics shoes. I knew that without a goal you were just leaving it all to chance with no real focus. I had big picture goals too. In fact my best friend in middle school drew a picture of me at the Olympics because she knew that my dream was to be the next Mary Lou Retton. Let’s be clear, I was nowhere near that level of gymnast but I was a dreamer. I carried that goal setting with me as life went on. I knew that goals needed to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound, and so I did just that. In high school I set goals for my academics, which college I wanted to go to, money I wanted to save, and so many other achievements I wanted to have under my belt. As my career began I did the same thing. Each fiscal year I had goals for this and that and posted them and tracked them. I’m a big advocate for goal setting, clarifying your vision, setting up a plan to achieve it and track it, but I have to tell you what happened a couple of years ago.

It was the beginning of the new fiscal year and I set aside time to sit down and write out my goals. One of my strengths is designing a strategic plan and I love watching a big goal be broken down into bite size pieces. So, I started down the same goal-setting path I had gone down for 20+ years and then it hit me. I was exhausted of my goals being so achievement driven. Have you ever felt that way? I was burned out of setting and achieving (or missing) goals that as soon as I conquered them, there was another goal. Even with the “win” it felt like there had to be more to life than this. You must know that at this same time my definition of “success” was completely changing, which I’ll write about in another blog, but that was definitely having an affect on my goal setting. I paused and took a few deep breaths and I wrote on my page, “What do I want my life to feel like this year? And, “Who do I want to become?” I hadn’t asked myself those question before when I was writing my goals. I could literally feel my breathing slow down and my mind wander to a whole new place. Words like, “…peaceful, calm, centered, harmonious, fun, healthy…” started coming to mind. I was loving where this was going. After thinking this through for a few days, I decided to set my goals based on who I wanted to become and how I wanted this year to feel. It energized me in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time.

Once I had some clarity on this, I started to set some tangible goals, but I then made sure those goals lined up with the bigger picture of how I wanted to personally develop and how I wanted my life, home, and work to feel. I want to encourage you to try it this year. Step off the hamster wheel. Slow down. Take a few deep breaths, ask yourself those two questions, and I think you’ll find your goals will take on new meaning and be much more fulfilling in this new year.