Ideas for Setting Strong Personal Goals in Each Area of Your Life
The Basics of GoalSetting
"It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise." ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
This is the time of year when many of us begin examining what we did wrong and right in 2011 and think about what we want to do differently in 2012. Some call the things we want to do goals, some call them resolutions. Either way, here are a few ways to ensure you set your goals/resolutions with a defined plan for reaching them! After this overview of setting your goals, you will find some suggestions to get you started on your way for 2012!
Determine Your Overall Goals By Making Them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
A goal I have this year is to volunteer more. That however, was not specific enough and would easily become something I could overlook in my daily life. To make the goal a SMART goal, I broke it down further. I will volunteer at least 3 hours a week to [Specific Program]. By noting the timing and the program, I can share this goal with others and be accountable for completing it. If you want to learn more about setting SMART goals, click here.
If your goal is not something you can do weekly or can't commit to doing weekly at first, then break it down into quarterly or monthly goals to start. You may say "Volunteer 2 hours a month at a local women's shelter" or "Help at the Food Kitchen two times a quarter." As long as you have a specific timing and idea of what you want to do, it will help you to keep your goal.
On a side note, I like to set goals in all areas of my life: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual. This helps me to ensure full development in all areas of my life.
Write Them Down
To ensure you keep these goals on the forefront of your mind, write them down and post them somewhere you will see them every day, such as a bathroom mirror or refrigerator. Some individuals choose to post them in several locations. I have mine posted on the refrigerator, my bedroom mirror, and in my journal. This helps me know at all times what I am working toward throughout the year.
Tell Others About Your Goals
Tell others who you interact with daily and weekly about your goals and ensure they will hold you accountable. Post it to Facebook, share it on your blog and record your progress monthly. Whatever you do, get the word out that these are the goals you have this year. For more personal goals, entrust one or two people who you know well to keep you accountable. Some people may have struggles such as overcoming a pornography addition, giving up alcohol, or leaving an abusive relationship. These are not exactly goals you typically want to broadcast over the internet. By entrusting one or two close friends with this goal, they will not only be able to hold you accountable but they will be able to direct you to appropriate resources, such as AA and NA meetings, counselors, support groups, and battered women's shelters or the Domestic Violence Prevention and Education Coalition in your area.
Review Your Progress
Whether monthly or quarterly, it is important that you review your progress. Sometimes, your life may change in a way that will not allow you to achieve all goals so it will be important to tailor your goals as you go. The important part is to know your goals and how you are progressing in reaching them!
Change by Taylor Swift
10 Goal Suggestions for Each Area of Your Life
Need some help getting started on your goals for 2012? Sometimes, it can be a daunting task to think about how you would like to improve in various areas of your life. Some may continue to set the same goals of losing weight, reading more, and making more friends. However, there are so many options out there for all areas of your life. Below, I provide you with 10 goal ideas/resolution suggestions for 2012 in each area of your life: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual. If you are having trouble starting on your goals, feel free to take an idea and run with it. If you send me a message noting your goal, I will pray for you throughout the year and check in with you monthly to see how you are progressing.
I suggest one or two goals in each area, depending upon the amount of time the goal(s) would take. Remember, be realistic. Set yourself up for a challenging success, not an easy failure! And remember, make them SMART by adding timing to them and tailoring them to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely for your needs and life.
- Change your look this year by getting a new hairstyle/color, adding bold colors (or muted) to your wardrobe, or wearing a new style of shoes/jewelry/accessories.
- Lose weight by being active three times a week for 30 minutes each and adding a 30 minutes strength training routine 2 times a week.
- Eat better by cutting out meat at least twice a week and adding fruit/veggies to each meal. Get the Spark People Cookbook to help you or join their website for support.
- Gain weight by adding more protein to your diet and a strength training routine 3 times a week for 60 minutes. Again, Spark People is a good resource here.
- Join a hiking club and go on at least 2 hikes a month for an hour or longer each. (Or join a rowing club/jogging club/Zumba class...you get the point!)
- Clean the house weekly by setting a timer to 15 minutes and focusing on one area at a time. Join the kids in the activity by providing an allowance for helping with dusting, the bathroom, the kitchen.
- Improve the house/yard by focusing on one task a month that needs improvement and ensuring it is completed. (Best to start the year with a list of things you want to do throughout the year. Last year, I had things such as trim the tree branches, remove a shed, build a new shed, remove vines from fencing, replace front door. Having the list helps you just pick one and go to town. You also can prepare your resources by having the material ahead of time and people available to help.)
- Simplify your living space by donating all possessions you haven't used in the past year to charity or selling them. For clothing, donate anything you haven't worn with the season or clothes that are more than two sizes too small or too big.
- Spend more time outdoors by taking at least one hour each week to enjoy a local state park, playground, beach, etc. If you like art or photography, use this time to enjoy drawing, sketching, photographing the sites. If you have children, include them and take pictures of them enjoying the area!
- Redesign one room in your house that require a renovation. The redesign can include redecorating, painting, or completely renovating the rooms.
- Travel to at least 3 new states for no less than a day at a time. Plan the trip ahead of time to ensure the best deals or go spontaneously and enjoy the day wandering the areas you choose!
- Take at least 1 new photograph a week and post it where your friends can see it. Join a 366 project by Good Searching or Googling "366 project". Or start your own blog with your project!
- Become a better parent by spending time with your children without technology for at least an hour a night. Use this time to play board games, talk about the day, or do a craft together.
- Become a better child or grandchild by spending at least one hour a week/month with your parents/grandparents. This may be feasible in person or by calling on the phone and writing letters. For those who have distance between you, try Skyping or taking 15 minutes each week to send a card with a short note about something new in your life. Ask the person questions about their life and adventures. This is a great way for children to learn about their relatives lives.
- Volunteer at least once a month in an organization that supports a cause you are passionate about. This may mean anything from stuffing envelopes to actively participating in making their facilities and programs better. Don't know where to start? Check out VolunteerMatch.org for ideas.
- Bring flowers to a local nursing home once a month. Bring coloring books and crayons to a local homeless shelter. Bring books to a local battered women's shelter.
- Go through your cabinets monthly and donate food to the local food bank.
- Organize an event to raise money for your favorite local organization - it can be anything from a party or picnic to a formal event complete with sponsors.
- Start a new family tradition. Have board game nights monthly or quarterly where the entire family invites friends to play. Start hosting a neighborhood picnic in the summertime. Rally the neighborhood for a Christmas decorations day and serve hot chocolate and baked goods while decorating houses. Do something memorable that will continue through the generations.
- Read at least one fiction and one non-fiction book a month. If you are already an avid reader, challenge yourself to read different types of books or go through this list of 100 all time classics.
- Reevaluate your relationships and remove all toxic friendships and relationships from your life. Toxic relationships are those that drain you more than they uplift you. People who demean you, take from you without offering anything in return (unless they are put there by God for you to encourage you should not have any friends who are only takers unless you have someone pouring into your life in the areas these friends take from), abuse you, or use you for one reason or another.
- Reevaluate your work. Are you finding yourself burnt out at the end of the day? Talk with your management and determine a better solution for your time. Start thinking about a career where you will be challenged but not overwhelmed. Look at other departments within your company and talk with friends about open positions within theirs.
- Reevaluate your happiness. Make it a priority. Are you sad? Do you find yourself exhausted and overwhelmed most of the time? Talk with a counselor and work through ideas for adding more joy to your life instead of just going through the motions. Improve on the areas that are causing you to feel drained.
- Reevaluate your time management. Remove areas of waste in which you are unproductive and not using your time wisely. Remove areas where you are doing things you don't want to do but do out of guilt. Remove areas in which you can better use the time to work on your goals. Countless hours on the computer, watching television, playing video games can drain you emotionally because then you are playing catch up in other areas. Instead, have a general schedule of how to use your time and stick to it. Schedule in "waste" time so you don't feel completely overwhelmed with your new productivity. Think of them like cheat days when you are on a diet.
- Take the initiative to spend time with at least one friend a month who you don't see regularly. This can be 12 friends over the course of the year or 1 friend you now make time to see monthly.
- Make regular contact with your friends and family. Whether it is by posting a note on their Facebook wall or sending them an email, make the effort to send one non-chain type email to every friend you have so they know you are thinking about them. You may want to make a list and go through it every quarter. Just ensure you reach out and say hello and keep the relationships open.
- Make time for your good friendships. Don't let work and life get in the way. Have someone over for dinner. Schedule a play date. Enjoy a night out. Just ensure you make time for all of your good friends to keep those relationships strong. If you have neglected some friendships that you want to strengthen, start with an apology and explain what you are trying to do and make a commitment with your friend to how to go about restrengthening the relationship.
- Forgive those who have hurt you. Let it go. Release yourself from the prison you keep yourself in when you don't forgive someone. I once heard someone say "Not forgiving someone is like ingesting poison and waiting for the other person to die." Don't do that to yourself. Forgive and more on. Sometimes, this will mean approaching them. Other times it will mean just letting it go on your end.
- Forgive yourself. Stop holding it against yourself that you aren't a great parent, a great friend, a great child. Quit hating that you aren't where you wanted to be in life, that you made mistakes in your past, that you hurt people. Move on and make changes so you can be the things you wish you were and do the things you wish you were doing.
- Seek forgiveness. Where you have wronged someone else, go to them and ask forgiveness. Heal your past relationships by offering your apologies and seeking their forgiveness. Then move on whether they accept it or not. Some people will continue to harbor resentment. Others will graciously extend their forgiveness. Your part is to offer your apologies.
- Read the Bible or religious book of your choice at least once a day for no less than 10 minutes. Follow a plan, read wherever you choose to read, or read cover to cover.
- Join a local fellowship of believers who you can enjoy weekly, encourage, support, and pray with. Check out a few fellowships based upon your beliefs or desires. Interview the person in charge and ask questions to ensure you are in the right place. Talk with friends to locate a good starting place or check out your local yellow pages.
- Join a book club that reads books about spiritual development and participate effectively each week.
- Write in a prayer journal daily to note desires and successes.
- Write in a gratitude journal daily and note at least 5 things you are thankful for daily.
- Write in a scripture journal daily by filling up one page a day with scriptures you enjoy.
- Have a family devotion time for at least 15 minutes a day before bedtime. Note what you are thankful for what has been a struggle, what you need prayer with, or whatever you choose to discuss.
- Take time to look around you each day for opportunities to meet someone's need by serving them, providing for them, or being a friend to them. Give of yourself in a way that is sacrificial.
- If you don't have one already, write down your life mission statement. If you do have one, ensure you are living according to it. Pray over it and change it as needed. Keep it in front of you at all times.
- Pay it forward - help people who are down on their luck by praying for them, directing them to the appropriate resources, having friends reach out to them, or meeting a need.