The Power of Goals

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Every year we read blogs, articles, magazines, hear news stories and blurbs on making New Year’s Resolutions. Well, I for one don’t do that. I do something else.

Each year, on January 1, my wife, daughter and I get up early - like before 6:00 A.M. - and find a breakfast place that’s open. When I used to live in Safety Harbor, Florida, that was the “Paradise Café”, which has some of the best waffles around…but I digress.

We find that restaurant and have a great breakfast while everyone else is recuperating from the night before. And we bring along a worn leather book that we’ve been writing in since my daughter wasn’t even old enough to read. It’s our book of Goals. A resolution, as it is purely defined, is a decision to change, stop or start an action. It has a sense of continuance, and that’s the issue. Some people decide things like “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to spend more time with my family or hobby”. But a goal is different. A goal tends to have a defined start and end point. It’s something that can be measured.

So each year on January 1 we sit down with the little leather book and we make a few - and only a few - individual and family goals. Sometimes it’s to exercise three times a week at the gym, sometimes it’s to save a certain percentage of income, and sometimes it’s to give away some of our possessions or to help someone we know in a specific way. Each person is responsible for their own goals - coming up with them, and coming up with a plan to meet them. Then we write it down in the little leather book. But it doesn’t end there.

Each month, we grab the little leather book and read out the goals from that year to each person with a question or two: How are you doing on your goal? And what are you doing about reaching it? Can I help? Am I helping? At the end of the year, we put a checkmark by the goals we reached, and an X by the ones we didn’t. There’s no judgment, there’s no statements, each person is just expected to handle the success or failure in their own way. We also have family goals, and those we work on together.

This might seem a little “corny” to some people. “I don’t need to write goals down” they say, “I keep track in my head of the things I do all the time. That’s silly.” But let me give you a little challenge: find a book, get with your family, and write down the things you want to do by the next January 1. Each month, look at the book. You can make goals for your career, your education, your spiritual side, your family, whatever. But if you make your goals realistic, think them through, and think about how you will achieve them, you will be surprised by the power of written goals.

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  • Very nice!  I like the idea of investing in a solid leather journal to keep track of your notes in.

  • Philbert - it's amazing what the printed word does. When you look at it on the page and you know someone will be checking up on you, you tend to actually do it!

    Thanks for reading and posting.

  • I should have read this in December 2010.  But, I will start now.

  • Sounds good to me! setting goals is the way to go and reach them.

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