Self-Awareness, Vision, Goals, & Accountability: Creating Habits that Bring Results
So, everyone has had there New Year’s Eve celebration! I know, the last piece of chocolate, the last cake, the last time you eat bread after 6pm, the last alcoholic beverage before January 1 when it’s time to celebrate with a new you and a healthy diet, right!?
Well, what about other resolutions, more like goals that concern money and spending, or character growth, or how you may perceive things to be when you are angry, frustrated, stressed, hurt.
So, the New Year came, and went, I guess what…my birthday is right around the corner. Luckily for me, it corresponds with the New Year, so that I can actually start my goals, and really evaluating my life and making changes on the first. Then, I get to reassess those goals at the end of the month to be certain I am on track, and realistic (a very important factor in the ability to achieve goals). So, I have put together some fun facts and helpful tips on successfully achieving your goals, and being realistic & honest with yourself. I have taken a few of these life-changing ideas from one of my heroes, Stephen Covey, and his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Then, I have included just a few of my own goals for the year 2009, as well as some fun facts about me that you might enjoy.
Proactivity: The Mirror Test
The first of my favorite habits is Proactivity. “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor,” Henry Thoreau. Proactivity is defined as the ability to take initiative, to respond, and to be responsible. To be proactive, one must be able to provide himself with an honest assessment of his self. This can be a difficult, and daunting task, especially when reality-perception begins to settle in. Though other influences may taint ones perception of reality, some patterns may reflect how one perceives reality. This is important in providing an objective check on behaviors, conversations, and tasks. Patterns can be negative, or positive, but they are habits that, in order to be changed, require proactivity.
We see our doctor's regularly because we need to be assured that we are healthy. We have X-Rays done so we can see what, if any, the problem is that is causing the pain. We pay loads of money to hear our doctor's tell us the absolute truth about the problems and how they can be taken care of properly. In the same way, we must apply this principle to our mental/emotional/relational well-being. Don't think ignorance is bliss; whether you want to know your condition, or not, you NEED to know! It may cost you in the end if you ignore these sort of issues.
I am my worst critic. (Well, maybe with the exclusion of my mother). But, most often, my mother has this false perception of what is really going on). Most often, we are our own worst critic. There are the few exceptions, however, those who are there own biggest fan, and a critic of everyone else. Both reality’s need to be in check; the best place to be is complete objectivity, where one can assess their behavior with the question, “how can I change my response to…”, and “what do I need in order to respond?”
Begin with the End in Mind
Okay, this is my absolute FAVORITE habit! I love this one because it keeps me focused, and motivated when things get mixed up, messed up, mundane, boring, stressful, tiring, frustrating. This habit is based on the principles of personal leadership (distinct from management). Leadership asks, “what are the things I want to accomplish?” and doing the right thing, rather than doing things right. Your principles should be at the center of every choice that is made. When you’re trusting in the end result, you will become less possessive of the temporal. Now, that is NOT to say that we should neglect the temporal. However, the choices we make each day should be a reflection of the direction we are heading.
Put First Things First
One of my favorite writers, Goethe, once said, “Things which matter most must never be at t he mercy of things which matter least.” This habit answers the question, ‘What one thing could you do, that you are not doing already, that, if you did on a regular basis, would make a remarkable positive difference in your life?’ This habit is the tangible, practical implementation of Habit 1 (self-awareness), and Habit 2 (imagination and vision). I know someone who is currently making a whole lot of changes in her life, as of the New Year. She recently posted a blog in which she shared about how she is really focusing on being intentional. This is a key factor in putting first things first. You MUST be intentional about how you are making the necessary changes. You also MUST prioritize.
I wanted to buy a car, years ago. It was beautiful, blue, fast, fun, and my first real vehicle that I purchased on my own entirely. I was so excited. Months prior to buying the car, or even knowing which car I would buy, I remember sitting in the living room of a couple’s rented home. This couple I loved dearly, and still have a great deal of respect for. From them, I learned so much about making vision a reality, and goal setting, and personal passions and missions, etc. In their living room that night, I wrote out in my journal exactly how I would prepare myself to purchase a vehicle. I also wrote out other goals pertaining to my education. That was the first time I ever had written out the daily, practical ways in which I would achieve my goals.
This is also a very important habit to have, it may save your life one day (speaking figuratively). Others need to know what you are doing, why, how, when. This is necessary so that they can not only keep you in check, but also keep you motivated, and encourage you to continue when you become your worst critic again. “There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity.” – Samuel Johnson.
Me, I am so blessed to have the relationships I have. Note that I used the word BLESSED, and not LUCKY. My friends did not happen by chance, at all. My closest friends have been in my life for years, nearly 1/3 of my life. When I consider my 6 closest friends, I can think of the highs and lows, ups and downs, and struggles in each of the relationships. I have been very intentional in all of my relationships. Often times, they know me better than I know myself even, and for that, I am thankful because I don’t always make the best choices. I know I can count on nothing less than the truth from them, even when it hurts the most. I know how much they care for me, not to just flatter me.
2009 Goals for the Year
- Without being to specific since it really isn’t your business, just know that I have financial goals, and this year, they mostly pertain to my financial future security. And, well, there are two others aside from that.
- I will be intentional about drinking less coffee and more juice. I will be juicing, in fact, four times this year for 30 days each time. During that time, I will be doing a cleanse as well.
- Gym & Fitness- Cardio plan focusing on form and endurance. Toning legs, arms, and focusing more on core.
- Read 4 fictional novels this year.
- Be at intermediate level on both longboard & funboard by end of 2009.
- Find new tennis partner/improve game by paying attention to where the ball will be in the court, and preparing for the shot.
- Play guitar more often, and more regularly. Learn, and become proficient in all chords, and learn three new chord variation/month.
- Make a decision on whether to go back to school, and what degree program to study, as well as where to go. Determine what the timeline will be, and prepare for the necessary tests and applicactions.
- Be more aware and intentional about who I allow in my life, and who I am sharing my life with.
- Community Outreach
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