Saturday, January 10, 2015

Making Goals that Stick - Why you can be forever different after this year



Guess what, everyone?!  It's January 10, and I'm still working on my goals for this year!  Haha!  I know.  Not so impressive, but how many goals die before this point?  I had an epiphany this year in my goal setting that has me really excited and thought I'd share.

Every year on Christmas Eve, we throw a birthday party for Jesus.  As part of that celebration, we each give a gift that we want to give Him during the coming year - something of ourselves.  Click here for more details on this tradition. 

As I though about what I wanted to give this year, I noticed that there was a theme running through my ideas.  Pretty much everything I struggle with has to do with the same thing - a lack of diligence and consistency.  As I pondered this, I gave the gift of DILIGENCE this year!

Since that's pretty abstract, I have broken that down into some specifics and set some more concrete goals.

There's a principle that can be taken advantage of here.  Exercising a skill in one setting will strengthen that skill in other settings.  I first encountered this principle when I had boys struggling to pay attention in school.  I found that if I could get them to do activities at home that required sustained focus: puzzles, longer board games, reading stories without pictures to them, etc., they did better in school.  We were strengthening their attention muscles.  It didn't matter that we were doing it by playing!

As I set my specific goals this year, I chose things that will strengthen the skill I want to develop: DILIGENCE!

Some of my goals include:

- Reading 10 books this year (All the way to the end!!)
- Sustaining a healthy eating program
- Systematically decluttering my house
- Reading my scriptures in Spanish (With a specific schedule.  Strengthening my spiritual and language muscles at the same time!)

Want to give this process a try?  Here's what I suggest:

1.  Brainstorm!  Start writing down things you want to accomplish.  I think we're good at this.  However, usually we stop here!

2. Look for patterns.  Ask yourself, "Why is this hard for me", "Why have I failed at this in the past?", "What skill or character trait would make this goal easier for me to accomplish?"

3. Choose the trait or skill you will focus on as your theme.  This is powerful!  Not only will this guide your goal setting, but will be the WHY that keeps you going.  Already this year, when I have been tempted to slide, I remind myself that I am learning DILIGENCE.  It keeps me going! 

4. Set a handful of specific goals that will help you develop your chosen skill.  It is great if they come from different settings and areas of life.  I have physical, spiritual, and intellectual settings for developing diligence built into my plan.

5. Review!!  Check up on yourself each day!  How'd you do?  Celebrate the successes!  Figure out how you can do just a little bit better the next day, and then keep moving! 

What are your thoughts?  Any specific tips or tricks that have helped you be successful?  Feel free to share in the comments! 

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