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September 2006: Setting Goals


The summer is almost over and the kids are back in school. Even though I have been out of school for many years, I still have the urge to shop for school supplies! I’ve said it before that September feels more like the New Year to me than January. In some religions, it actually is the New Year. It’s a time for new beginnings and the perfect time to set goals.

Some of you may be empty nesters for the first time as your last child has just gone off to University or has moved out of the house. Raising a family takes a lot of time and energy and the focus has been on your children. Maybe now it’s time to focus your energies on yourself. Maybe you’ll join that gym that you keep driving by. Maybe you’ll go back to school or perhaps you’ll take up that hobby you have wanted to start since before the kids were born! It’s time to get off the couch, and take a step. Sometimes taking that first step is the hardest. It’s called commitment. We can talk all we want about “one day I’m going to….” And no one really pays attention to us but once we commit ourselves to action, then that vision becomes a reality. Remember that goals without action are just dreams! Take that step and make that commitment and then follow through with action.

As with anything else, your best chance of achieving goals is to have a plan. Set SMART goals. I have talked about this before in my top ten organizing tips. My first tip is “Prioritize and set goals”. We need to do this regularly to get things done in life. I am referring to setting a personal goal for you.

Specific: Set a goal that is specific. Saying “I want to get in shape” is not specific enough. Say instead, “I want to walk three times a week.”

Measurable: How will you know when you have succeeded? When you have been walking three times a week for three months.

Attainable: Set a goal that you need to work at, but which at the same time you can reasonably attain-Say in one year of training, I will be ready to attempt a 30 km marathon for example.

Realistic: Don’t say I want to be fit enough to walk a 60 km marathon by next week. That’s not realistic! Take baby steps and be realistic about your time, your level of fitness, your level of commitment and based on these, set a realistic goal.

Time-bound: Don’t say one day I’ll start walking and one day I’ll walk a marathon. Say I am going to start walking for 30 minutes three times a week Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 7pm with my friend and want to participate in that marathon by next September.

The satisfaction of setting a goal and then achieving that goal is incredible! Whatever your goal is, just go for it. What you’ll find after you have accomplished that goal, you’ll be ready to set another one and then another one….

Remember the difference between people who talk about doing things and people who actually get them accomplished is ACTION.

I would love to hear from you. Email me and let me know what your goal is for this year.