Dreams and Goals for the New Year
It’s a new year – a time for dreaming of the future, for making resolutions, for setting goals. What are your dreams for your future? If you could do anything, what would it be?
Sometimes the thought of a big dream or the prospect of setting goals can be overwhelming.
But setting goals doesn’t have to be scary and overwhelming. Here are 6 tips to help get you started.
1. Be realistic. Start with your strengths. What are you good at? What are you passionate about? Start there and dream. Of course, you can dream about doing anything you want, but your chance of success will be greater if you make your dreams and goals realistic. To be honest, some goals just aren’t realistic. No matter how much a 40-year-old woman who cannot turn a cartwheel wants it, she just isn’t going to become an Olympic gymnast. But she could learn 10 yoga poses or learn how to salsa dance. So take the big, big dreams and if you need to, tweak them a little to make them realistic.
2. Be specific. You won’t know if you meet your goal if it’s not specific and measurable. What exactly do you want to achieve? When? Rather than “I want to be happier this year,” think about what specifically will make you happier? Will completing a diploma or degree make you happier? Will leaving a toxic relationship make you happier? Will having $500 in savings make you happier? Will owning a car or getting a raise or learning to decorate cakes or sewing a quilt or reading twenty books make you happier?
Rather than thinking, “I want to be more financially stable,” think about exactly what you mean by that. Do you want to earn a specific amount of money each month? Do you want to create a budget and stick to it? Do you want to end each month with a specific amount of money in the bank after the bills are paid? Set that specific goal.
Defining a goal will make it clearer and easier to reach. Plus, you’ll know exactly when you accomplish it so you can celebrate!
3. Be strategic. Dream big, but plan small. Set the big goal and then work backward, breaking it down with a clear action plan. If your big goal is to earn a college degree, then smaller goals might be to take the SAT by a certain date and to complete the FAFSA by a certain date and to apply to so many colleges by another date. If your big goal is to become a nurse or to become an engineer or to earn a cosmetology license, then what small goals do you need to accomplish in order to meet the big one? Work backward and set those small goals with deadlines.
4. Be watchful. Track your progress. Write things down. Set deadlines on a monthly planner. Make lists and cross things off as you complete them. Celebrate small successes. Small successes breed bigger successes. When you can see your progress, you’ll be motivated to continue.
5. Be proactive. Take some time to honestly think about what obstacles might prevent you from achieving your goal. Make a list of those. And then brainstorm ways to overcome those obstacles. Surprise roadblocks can really mess up your plans; but if you’ve already anticipated the problem, you’re less likely to give up when things get hard.
6. Be supported. When other people know about your goals, they can hold you accountable and encourage you. They can also help out with the logistics of overcoming those obstacles we just talked about. But be careful. Not everyone will be encouraging and helpful. Find people who will be your cheerleaders and surround yourself with them. You’ll be more likely to succeed if you have the support of people who love you and are rooting for you.
Even if your path has taken some unexpected twists and turns, you can start now and dream beautiful dreams for your future. Then you can set goals and make those beautiful dreams come true. Our hope for you is that you know that you’re worth all the best dreaming and goal-setting. And if we can help you move toward a healthier or happier future, please call us.