From Goals to Dreams

Did you make your New Year’s resolutions this year? Or better put, your January resolutions, because they tend to stay in people’s minds up until about January 21st. Writing random wishes down on a piece of paper that you don’t look at until next year, with no milestones to hit along the way, with no specifics on how to get there, with no regular check-ins or reminders to make sure your on it, with no reality check to ask yourself if this is even possible…you might as well write down that you want to become as good-looking as Brad Pitt, with the writing ability of William Shakespeare, with the athletic ability of Kobe Bryant, with the IQ of Stephen Hawking, with the wealth of Bill Gates, with one physical gift from Peter North. You should shoot that high, because you might as well not short change your false hope.   

You need to make New Year’s goals. Not New Year’s resolutions. Although the word resultution means a lot, the New Year’s variety doesn’t mean anything. In my last post, I quoted The Unfettered Mind and said that you should ‘dream.’ It’s time to turn those dreams into a reality. The way you do that is through setting and achieving goals that you can hit. If you want to be the president of the United States, that’s not going to happen most likely in 2012. But there are goals you need to hit this year if you want to be him/her in 2016 or 2020 or 2040.

Not everyone knows how to set goals. And if you’re not setting goals, or you’re not setting goals correctly, you have less of a chance to succeed. Significantly less.

The things I’m about to tell you are someone else’s. These are things that I picked up from my parents, from school, from my siblings, or friends. From online or from the very few business books that I actually read in my life. This might be an amalgam of all those sources or this might just come from one source that got to me from a lot of different places. This is plagiarism. (But the Peter North line was my own.)

When I looked this up online, I kept finding this S.M.A.R.T. Goal acronym. Maybe I got it from there but conveniently forgot the cheesy acronym. Did you ever try to make an acronym for something? And you’re forcing words and phrases to fit because you came up with the word with only one or two of the letters you had? Yeah…that’s this.

To set goals, you need them only to be three things: specific, measurable, achievable. This is the S.A.M. version or the M.A.S. version for the Spanish samurai out there.

A goal isn’t ‘lose weight’. It’s ‘lose 40 pounds.’ Then you set up a schedule with specific weight loss methods in mind. I’m going to lose 8 pounds in a month. Here’s how I’m going to do it. I’m going to cut out wheat, dairy, alcohol, refined sugar…etc. I’m going to work out 3 times per week. I’m going to make myself throw-up after big meals (kidding…I know, I know, eating disorders are serious.) You have weigh-ins every two weeks. You monitor your progress. If you start falling behind, maybe you increase your workouts per week to four, or increase the amount of time you work out for. Or keep a stricter diet. There is a specific goal. You can measure your progress. Losing 40 pounds is doable. And you have laid out an action plan on how you are going to get that done.

I saw a friend of mine on New Year’s Day and her resolution was to ‘drink less.’ Then joked that she was going to start tomorrow. And although I probably come off to you guys like the kind of person that would get up on his soapbox and tell her exactly how to set a goal, that’s not who I am in my other life. I just smiled. But that’s not a goal. If she said last year I drank three nights a week, and this year I want to drink only two…that’s a goal. It’s specific, you can measure it, and it’s realistically achievable.

You should set goals in all areas of your life; Family, Heath, Career, Financial, hobby-related…anything, everything. Be specific. Write them down. Write down an action plan for how you are going to actually accomplish those goals.

Keep thos goals and those action plans in front of you. Posting them on a mirror or your refrigerator will help. I know they’re personal and that’s sometimes embarrassing, so then go to yahoo or google reminders, and have them send emails to you weekly, or even daily, with your goals on them.

You want to write a novel? That sounds daunting, right? You have no time for that? How about 1 page per day? That’s 365 pages in a year. That’s a completed book…this year. You still don’t have time for that? You’re reading this blog…you have time for this. So quit reading this blog and a couple others, quit facebook or twitter, just for 365 days, and write a page of your book every day. There’s your time. Check back, in one year and tell me what you did. That would make me feel great.

What is it you want to accomplish? What is it you want to do?