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We have talked all month about different aspects of goal setting and starting the change process in our lives.  Now I’m really ready to start writing down my goals.  Sometimes I get a little over excited, and I’ll write down a big bunch of things I’d like to do differently.  It can be really exciting and energizing, which is why I do it. But I have to be really careful that I’m being authentic to myself and making goals that really pertain to my own life and development.

I do believe that it’s good to have accountability in our goals by sharing them with someone you trust, thus helping to keep each other on track. However, it can also be a bit overwhelming.

Can you guess what happens next? I listen to my friend as she shares what she is going to do, and I think “Wow, that’s really great, I should probably be doing that also” or “Why haven’t I been able to do that, it sounds really important” or “I wish I could do better like that.”  The problem with thinking like this is that now I feel like less of a person because I think I should actually be like someone else, instead of being me.

Why is it so hard to accept that each of us is in a different place in life.  My personality is different, I have a different home, different husband, different children than…. well, everyone else in the world.  While we may have some similarities with our friends and loved ones, we are each traveling a very unique and different road in life.

Susan and I like to joke that we were raised by different parents.  Even though they are the same “people” they were in such different places in their lives with each of us. When I was born, Mom was just 24, and I was her first, while Dad was still finishing college. But, by the time Susan was born, she was Mom’s last child of 4, born 10 years after me, and Dad was busy building a successful career.  (Plus there were two busy brothers in between.)

I suppose the point is that we can only live the life that we have, where it is, right now. Sometimes I’d like to go back and relive 10 years ago, but that just isn’t an option. (There’s no tardis in my life’s experience.)

My goals need to be pertinent to me, in my life now.  I know people who can run marathons or do triathlons, and I can totally admire them and cheer them on… from the sidelines.  That is just never going to be me.

It isn’t going to do me any good if I try to make my goals look like someone else’s because I want them to think I’m as good as they are. My goals shouldn’t be for the sole benefit of looking good.  They should be to help me to feel happier and more satisfied with my life.

By starting with my list of my own personal values and my “recognitions” I can begin to make a list of goals that are meaningful to me.

For example:

Value: Family

Recognition: I want to enjoy the time I have with my children while they are young.

Goals for this month:

  1. Make sure I’m holding them accountable for their chores and schoolwork.
  2. Do one home improvement project together.
  3. Spend some time each week doing something fun, just with each other.

I like to do home improvement projects with my kids, because it gets them thinking creatively, and they really enjoy feeling like they are contributing.  But that is my family and where we are this year.  I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, it’s just something we enjoy. This is an area that my goal will be very different from my friend’s.

By keeping it simple and do-able I hope to see some progress that will lead to even bigger things down the road.

Some of my other values and recognitions have much bigger goals, and for them I am using Susan’s post it board method to keep me on track.

Whatever you decide to do with your goal setting this year, make it personal, make it meaningful, and if it gets overwhelming go back to a method I talked about earlier.

When thinking about a certain goal, or action step in your goal, analyze how it makes you feel.  If you feel excited, happy or at peace, go forward with this step. It’s a good one.

If you feel anxious, stressed or nervous while thinking about this step, it may not be the right timing.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t have this goal or make this action step, it may be that you just aren’t ready.  Re-examine your recognition or value that lead you to this step, and think if there is something smaller, or simpler that can lead you in the right direction that feels a little more peaceful to you as you think about what it takes to accomplish this goal.

Any step in the right direction, no matter how small, is progress.

The goals that I set with my children in mind this month are simple enough that I feel like I can certainly work on them and not get overwhelmed. Thinking about them makes me happy.

As you work on your goals this month, I hope that you will also find happiness and satisfaction in knowing that you have the power to move forward to becoming the best you that you can be.

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