How to Set Goals


If you don’t know where you’re headed, you’ll never know how to get there. That’s what my mom always told me. She also said many other quirky things (Clean your room…it’ll make Jesus happy!), but I’ve chosen to focus only on the statements that make sense all these years later (my bed is still unmade this morning, so there’s that). Knowing where I’m headed is the most daunting decision I’m facing right now. It’s hard to admit because I’d love to pretend I have my ish together, but–really–I’m just taking each day as it comes.

This needs to change.

As I enter 2014, I’m arming myself with a list of goals. It’s taken me a few days to put it together, but it’s nice to look at something, hopefully. To admit I’m dreaming of something bigger than what reality says is possible. This year I decided to break my goals into two sections: Dreams and Do’s.

Sometimes it’s easy to write a list of goals, but not actively set a way of accomplishing it. For instance, last year JD listed Completing a triathlon as a goal, but then he spent weeks studying how to train. In this case, the Dream was the triathlon, and the Do was creating a workout schedule to prepare him.

The easy part is talking about a Dream…the hard work begins when you Do. Success only comes when you stick with a course of action to achieve what you want. However, don’t forget that research proves setting a specific goal ensures you have a chance of getting precisely that. In light of this, I like to think of broad, lifestyle goals (like what I hope to experience or how I want my life to feel) and then use my Dreams to help me get there.

One of my goals this year is to spend more time with my family (work and travel have proven to be an enemy of quality time), so I listed a series of Do’s to ensure I can make it come to life (taking a sibling out for a date one a month, planning a monthly family dinner, and meeting my parents for lunch one a month). I’m promising to make three changes in my schedule to accommodate my goal and I believe I can make it happen. Because I want it.

I want to Do a lot more when it comes to my Dreams…and I’m sure you do too. If you’re looking to book three family photo sessions a month, what must you do to get there? List realistic and achievable action steps to get there (like updating social media at least once a day, taking photos of your son’s soccer game and sending pictures to the team parents, advertising in your local PTA bulletin, updating new photos to Facebook at least twice a week, etc). This is just a small example of what needs to be done, but once you’ve outlined how to get what you want, you’ll get it.

Best wishes and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!