"Tomorrow is the first blank page of 365-page book. Write a good one." – Brad Paisley
Happy New Year! 2020 has been the butt of a many jokes and snide remarks. Perhaps rightfully so. But for each of you, 2020 has also brought some needed life changes that have been nothing short of profound blessings. I know I have been blessed in 2020 to serve each of you as your coach.
With a new year comes new possibilities. What are your goals for 2021? For many of you, improving some specific aspect of your finances has been at the top of list. However, as you are learning in our coaching, the health of our finances often greatly influenced by aspects of our life, whether those are our relationships, spiritual life, vocational goals, physical and emotional health, or even our hobbies. It’s about finding health and balance in all domains of life. Think of your car. When one of your tires is low on air or out of balance you feel it through your entire car.
Taking even just 10 minutes for a basic life assessment can help identify areas of life that are out of balance. A great tool for this is productivity ‘ninja’ Michael Hyatt’s LifeScore Assessment: assessments.michaelhyatt.com/lifescore/
Now, with your whole life in mind, I want to pass along some basic goal-setting principles that I have also gleaned from Hyatt. There’s plenty of wisdom out there, but these five principles I have found to be the key to regular goal achievement:
Keep your goals few in number. First of all, keep your goals somewhere between 6-10 total each year. Even better, keep your goals for each quarter around 2-3. You’ll want to focus on just a couple goals at any one time.
Make them “S.M.A.R.T.E.R.” goals...
Specific - your goals must identify exactly what you want to accomplish. Bad: Lose weight. Good: Lose 10 pounds by the end of February.
Measurable - you can’t manage what you don’t measure. You want to quantify your outcome so you know whether you hit your goal or not. Bad: Walk more this year. Good: Walk at least 30 minutes/day at least 3x per week.
Actionable - every goal should start with an action verb (e.g. Quit, Finish, Eliminate, Run, etc..). Bad: Be more consistent with devotions. Good: Invest 30 minutes each morning before 8am in personal devotions.
Risky - some say “realistic” but I like “risky.” A good goal should stretch you, but not too much. Our goals should push us beyond our comfort. Bad: Run another half-marathon this year. Good: Run a full marathon (first ever).
Time-Keyed - every goal needs a date associated with it. When do you plan to complete the goal... January 31? The nearer the time the more focused you will need to be. Bad: Lose 20 pounds. Good: Lose 20 pounds by March 31.
Exciting - this is where the last two letters come to bear. Why have a goal if it does not excite you? Why did you want to accomplish this goal? What is your motivation? Bad: Take a one week summer vacation. Good: Take a two-week vacation to Italy.
Relevant - how is the goal aligned with your values, your season in life, and your other goals?
Write them down. This is huge. Writing your goals has a way of making them concrete and committed. Dr. Gail Matthews, psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down!
Review them frequently. Can you look at them each morning or at least each week? Each time you look at your goals ask yourself, “What’s the next step I need to take to move this goal forward?”
Share them selectively. Who could be a fellow encourager in a specific goal? Think of someone who knows you and will hold you accountable in a loving way.
If you are struggling coming up with goals, how to write them or track them - then let’s make this the focus of a coaching session!
Cheering and coaching you forward in 2021!