What Will You Do Differently This Year?

fitness-957115_640The New Year has arrived. Are you ready for it? Are you energized and excited? Are your goals set? I’m not talking about your business goals; things like revenue and customer growth. I’m talking about your goals – the things you want to accomplish this year. Do you have them written down?

A lot of people start January with a list of New Year’s resolutions; things they want to either start or change in order to improve their quality of life. Memberships to gyms and dieting plans are skyrocketing right now. Of course, by February, most resolutions will be forgotten or abandoned. I think that’s sad, because self-improvement is not something to be taken lightly. We should honor those commitments and work hard to succeed at them.

One of my favorite business and motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, once said “With definite goals you release your own power, and things start happening.” I believe that is true. Without personal goals, I feel like I am just meandering my way through life. Maybe good things happen, maybe they don’t; but without goals I feel like I’m subject to the whims of fate.

Setting well-defined goals is like having a GPS for life. It creates not just a target to reach for, but a set of guidelines by which to get there. Once I’ve decided where I want to go and the route I want to take, the trip becomes easier and much more enjoyable.

Career Coach Dan Miller suggests seven different areas of life in which you should set personal goals. That may be a bit much for some people; especially if you’re like me. I’m not very disciplined, so having too many goals to achieve lessens my chance of accomplishing any of them. But let’s start with his list. See what goals you come up with for each of these categories.

  1. Financial. How much do you want to be earning this time next year? How much do you want to have saved or invested? How will improving your financial well-being impact your quality of life?
  2. Physical. What bad habits do you want to shed this year? What good ones do you want to pick up? What does your physically fit self look like? How will a change in your physical well-being impact your quality of life?
  3. Personal Development: What new skills would you like to learn this year? What gifts do you have that aren’t being utilized? How will spending time on your own development impact your quality of life?
  4. Family. What changes need to be made with regard to those closest to you? What does a healthy relationship with your significant other look like? What about the relationship with your children? How will more meaningful relationships with your family impact your quality of life?
  5. Spiritual. What do you feel is God’s purpose for your life? What changes do you need to make in order to grow in your faith? How will a deeper spiritual walk impact your quality of life?
  6. Social. Are you comfortable with the number and types of people that make up your social circles? What changes do you need to make in order to be a better friend? How will richer social relationships impact your quality of life?
  7. Career. Are you utilizing your unique skills, abilities, and passions at work? What would it look like to do your best work? What would it look like if your team was operating at their best? What changes need to take place in order for this to happen? How will doing your best work impact your quality of life?

Like I said, that’s a lot to consider. I can easily conceive of at least two goals for each category; but 14 goals is just too much to carry. The list needs to be trimmed down. Personally, anything over 5 is out of the question; and even that is pushing it. So the next step is to cull the list. Look at the last question I added to each category. Prioritize your list based on the level of impact you feel each goal will have on your life. Decide how many you think you can reasonably work on and put the others aside. Those can be saved for later on, after we’ve made significant progress on the most important ones.

Of course, just having goals identified isn’t enough. We need to have a plan to help us achieve them. Next week, I’ll share the goals I’ve set for myself and the strategies I’m putting in place to achieve them. Until then, I’d love to hear what you come up with.

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