December 2014 Article

Sit Right Down and Write Yourself a Goal List

Jot down everything you can think of—for now
List your goals without worrying about their order of importance, or whether you think you can reach them. You can work on those decisions later, but the really important goals in your life might not surface until you’ve “primed the pump” with a few lesser goals. In fact, you might have procrastinated on your important goals for so long that they have become suppressed, repressed, and hiding in the shadows of your awareness. Now is the time to coax them back to life.
Remember to consider these areas for goals:
  • Material things you want to own or have access to
  • Income, assets, cash in the bank, retirement funds, and investments
  • Accomplishments you’ll feel good about achieving
  • Places you want to visit
  • Things you want to learn
  • New abilities, skills, and crafts you want to acquire
  • Productive patterns in your life
  • Health, fitness, and energy levels
  • Time to spend with loved ones
  • Time and activities for yourself
  • Friendships and social opportunities
  • New habitual attitudes
Goal-setting touchstones
Research shows that high achievers think about these factors when setting goals:
  1. Is the goal measurable and specific? You need to know how close you are to achieving your goals, and specific goals will increase your motivation to achieve them.
  1. Is the goal time-phased? You turn your dreams and wishes into goals when you set deadlines for them. Deadlines produce creative tension, which should be a little uncomfortable at first. In fact, people with a low need for achievement avoid the pressure of self-imposed deadlines.
  1. Is the goal realistic? Research shows that a 50/50 chance optimally motivates people who have a high need to achieve. They see moderate risks as challenges that they have some control over: things not currently within reach, but reachable with the right efforts. People with a low need for achievement prefer to either gamble or choose the “sure thing,” both of which avoid the somewhat uncomfortable responsibility for outcomes.
Keep moving in the right direction
Each day will give you attractive little distractions and excuses for not working on your goals. Here are two self-questions to keep on your important course: 
  1. What is the most important thing I can do today?
  2. What is distracting from doing it?
Each step toward your goal helps you feel empowered. This growing emotional fortification will help you overcome the inevitable challenges and blocks.

By Jim Luger, CDEI
Certified Distance Education Instructor
Continuing Ed Express

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