Setting goals and New Year resolutions should be a positive experience. They should inspire us and keep us moving in the right direction. But it's important to set our goals well or we may find ourselves distracted by other people's agendas, end up allowing their wishes to hi-jack our own. We can waste a lot of time focussing on something that may not be positive or in our best interests.
Let's look at ways to make your goals a positive experience:
- Set goals that feel right for you, otherwise it's hard to remain fully committed. A positive goal continues to motivate us during setbacks and times when nothing seems to be going right. There may be occasions when we need to adjust, adapt, or compromise our plans, but when a goal feels right we can see beyond any short-term difficulties and remain inspired to carry on working with determination towards the bigger picture.
- Ensure that some goals add value to you life. You may be keen to give something back to your community, perhaps feel it's important to volunteer to help a local project, animal shelter or youth project. You may want to spend time cooking meals for the elderly or homeless, teach adults to read, plant trees, work to support a local amateur dramatic group. Others may find it difficult to compromise and support you in your pet project. At those times you may need to firm and explain how much it means to you.
- Failure can be an important lesson and a positive experience as we strive to reach our goals. Mishaps and setbacks can be regarded as part of the process, almost as an opportunity for a practice run or dress rehearsal where we iron out the blips and learn better, more effective ways of doing things. Not every goal will automatically take you where you want to go but moving in the right direction may even introduce a better outcome, a different master plan or a rather interesting detour along the way. And, indeed, failure sometimes brings along completely new, previously unconsidered ideas and opportunities.
- Mistakes are an important part of learning new skills and exploring uncharted waters. There's a saying that a person who never made a mistake never made anything. Staying safe and avoiding risk might be a comfortable place, especially if there is much stress in other areas of our lives, but mistakes can provide positive experiences to learn and move forward, becoming stronger and better equipped for the future.
- There are often significant external factors to consider when we decide to set business and personal goals. Responsibilities can weigh heavy as the impact of our actions on our important relationships is revealed. Family and friends may be required to make sacrifices as the financial implications or the demands of any short or long-term commitments are gradually discovered. Some goals may require a significant amount of time to be dedicated to studying and learning new skills, long hours may need to be worked or there could be a requirement to regularly travel away from home. Status, opportunities for career development and level of personal satisfaction may all need to be considered as the side effects of our goals are thought through.
- Be sure to give yourself credit at each stage as you progress towards achieving your goals. That way you make it a positive experience as you congratulate yourself on reaching each significant milestone. Whether it's losing weight, training for a marathon, completing a project, setting up a new venture, determine to set interim markers where you pause, maybe take a break, enjoy some time out for fun, a breather and praise yourself for what you've learned and achieved so far.
- Remember, it's often the journey or process of getting from A to B that's the most satisfying aspect of a goal rather than successfully achieving the final result. Yes, the goal itself provides motivation for all your efforts, but it's the journey itself that by providing the opportunity to learn, to add quality and purpose to your life is the real gift of any goal. Enjoy and be mindful of what you're doing rather than swiftly move from one goal to the next. Value the satisfaction that each success brings into your life.
And don't forget than even if a goal doesn't deliver what you'd originally hoped for, you're more likely to have challenged yourself, developed, learned more and had a more interesting time than you would done have without it. Positive goals add value to your life.