Well, I set off on a retreat yesterday, eager to get myself together for the New Year. When I arrived, the place was locked up, and no one was around. I tried to call my friend who owns the place, but she didn’t pick up.
I eventually found an open door in one of the buildings, but the heat was off, and it was cold 🙁 I had made arrangements for a good friend to come up and talk, so I decided to settle in. We ended up having a great and important conversation, and I decided to spend the night, but early this morning, I came home. I guess this is where I’m supposed to get my plans together.
The post below is one that I wrote around this time last year. SMART goals are always a good idea worth repeating, so here it goes.
I heard a great quote the other day. Sorry, but I didn’t get the source when I was writing down the quotation:
If you are breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong.
So often, we focus on the negative rather than the positive. When I heard this quote, I was reminded that, no matter how bad things may seem, there’s still a lot of good going on all around us. We just need to change our perspective.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for 2012 to get here I’m excited because I feel like I have a lot of great things planned in the New Year, and I’m taking steps to ensure that I’ll be able to accomplish everything I set out to do. I’m energized by my trust that God and I are partnering up to get some transformations going and that together we’re going to make all things new. Do you want to join us?
I know we’ve all made resolutions that we fail to accomplish. We do well for a couple of weeks, but then, well, life gets in the way. But 2012 can be different. Over the next couple of days, I’m going to be giving you some tips that I myself am integrating into my life. Let’s do this together, and maybe we can accomplish everything we set out to do. Wouldn’t that be great?
First, if you ever want to succeed in achieving your dreams and accomplishing your goals, you have to get them down on paper. This is critical. So, go out and get yourself a journal. It can be a cheap notebook, or it can be something a little nicer, like a leather-bound journal. Either way, get something!
Next, start thinking about a couple of goals you want to work on in the New Year. One of the keys to your success will be your ability to faithfully work towards achieving them. When you write down your goal, be sure that you are clear in what you want to achieve. Keep it simple.
I learned this simple tool while I was in grad school at Johns Hopkins. There are lots of variations to the acronym SMART, but the one below works well for me. If you want you can do a google search to find others.
So break open your new journal and get writing using the SMART method:
Specific If you want to achieve your goal, it has to be specific. It isn’t helpful to write down, I want to lose weight. Writing down I will lose 20 pounds is much more clear and specific.
Measurable- How do you know you are moving towards the goal. How do you measure progress?
Achievable- Be realistic. If you’re buried in debt and you want to get from under it, don’t write down that you will pay off all your credit cards in six months if this is impossible. Maybe a more realistic approach would be to write I will increase my credit card payments by $______.
Relevant- Is the goal in alignment with the bigger picture of your life? For instance, if I want to increase my overall health, then losing 20 extra pounds would be totally relevant.
Timely- Set some deadlines. You probably won’t be able to lose twenty pounds in a month (and keep it off), but to say that you’ll lose five pounds a month for the next four months might be much more reasonable.
Some of you might be very familiar with this system of goal-setting. I hope it has worked well for you. If this is all new to you, please consider giving it a try. You have several days to get thinking about it.
If you haven’t had much success in reaching your goals in the past, don’t worry about it. We’ve all been there. Let’s not get balled up in the past, but instead focus on the future. I think that 2012 is going to be a great year, and I want to be ready for all the good things that are in store for us. I want you to be ready too