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Getting Ready for a Year of Excellence: Setting Goals for 2013

In my previous newsletter article I wrote about taking an inventory from 2012 to see what you accomplished, what worked, what didn’t work, etc.  This is an important step to take (taking an inventory) before you start setting new goals for 2013.  In setting goals for this next year you will want to reassess your life’s direction in three broad categories:  life, love and work.

Looking back over the three categories from your inventory – life, love, and work – begin to orient your mind toward the goals that you have for the next year.  Setting broad goals will help your mind to sum up what you are shooting for in each category.  Broad goals are different from the small, detailed goals you will set in order to accomplish your big, broad goals.  Broad goals are the over-arching goals that will help point your mind toward where you want to go in all three areas.

Before moving forward with goal setting, take some time to get quiet and pray.  Pray that your Creator will reveal to you how you can more accurately step into His unique purpose for your life.  Chances are you have been opening doors and moving forward until you bump into a wall and stop to question your direction.  Rather than taking this reactive approach to finding your unique purpose, spend considerable time up front asking God to whisper to you about your unique gifts, strengths, and calling.  Write out quickly (brainstorming) what impressions you get from this time you have spent seeking God.

Starting with the Life category, read back over what your actions from 2012 showed you about your life mission.  Did your actions seem to get scattered as time moved forward or did you remain laser-focused on your life mission?  Most of us will have experienced some distractions and some of us might not have even thought about our life mission.   This is your opportunity to fine-tune your life mission and get back on course.  To get ready, be sure you have plenty of paper and something with which to write as you will again be using the act of writing to bring clarity and catharsis (do not type this on your computer just yet).

Begin by experimenting with writing a mission statement for your life to guide you through 2013.  Start by making broad statements in each of the following aspects of your life

1.  Spiritual – prayerfully consider what your spiritual mission will be for 2013 and jot down any thoughts that come to you.

2.  Emotional – take into account what you would like to accomplish in your emotional life throughout 2013 and jot down these thoughts.

3.  Physical – write down ideas about your needs and desires for your health and well-being for 2013.

Now that you have some thoughts written for each of these three aspects of your life – begin to craft a mission statement that blends all three aspects.  Give yourself permission to write it in several different ways so you will find the wording that best suits your own unique personality.  Here are two examples of mission statements that blend all three aspects:

“My mission for 2013 is to proactively seek emotional growth and character development that will aid me in my pursuit of listening for God’s wisdom and guidance regarding how I am to help others find their own unique purpose and gifts.  I will further contribute to my life purpose by eating nutritiously and incorporating movement (exercise) into my daily life.”

or

“To  live in a way that shows reverence for all living beings by fostering healthy relationships and mutual respect for all so that those around me so that they may be encouraged to live positively and fruitfully.   I will do this by continuing my education both academic and personal so that I may continue to grow and learn in order to make a progressive, effective, and beneficial impact in my relationships with other people and the environment.”

Once you have settled on a Life mission statement – you are ready to move on to the next category for big-picture goal setting.

Love (relationships):  Get out a new piece of paper for this category and begin by looking over your inventory from 2012.  Write your big-picture goals that will serve as a guide for how you will approach this aspect of your life in 2013.  Some of you will have things you will want to add while others might have things they want to subtract.  If you found yourself pursuing a relationship with someone for the wrong reasons (feeling obligated, desiring “popularity”, needing validation) you might consider being open to removing yourself from this pursuit in 2013.

Here are some examples of big-picture goals in the Love/Relationship category:

“I will strive to continually renew my relationship with God and to prioritize my relationship with my husband and sons by putting their needs before all others’.  I will pray for my family and friends in addition to seeking out ways to spend time with them.  When spending time with friends and family, I will utilize appropriate boundaries (psychological) so that the time we spend will be uplifting, fun and growth-inducing.  In so doing, I will value the relationship I have with myself, knowing that I bring both strengths and weaknesses into each relationship.”

or

“I will seek out new friends by attending events, participating in hobbies, and instigating conversations with new people.  I will cut back on the amount of time and energy I have been investing in relationships that were filled with negativity and re-focus on my relationship with myself knowing that by valuing my “self” I will be able to value others.  I will constantly strive to create and maintain balanced relationships that are mutually supportive and growth-inducing.”

Moving right along to the Work category:  as you look into 2013, write what you would like to see yourself doing for your career, job, or business.  Have you been putting off starting that new business?  Are you ready to begin researching a new career?  Perhaps your career is to tend to the needs of your family by keeping the children organized, the house clean and the meals cooked – are there any changes you want to make about this very important “career” of parenting?

Here are some examples of big-picture goals for the Work category of your life in 2013:

“I will make this the year of “discovery” and research about which type of business I would like to own.  I will continue to work where I am currently working but will use nights and weekends to read, talk to others, and consult with mentors about what type of business I could run that would showcase my strengths, further my life purpose and would have a low “start-up” cost.”

or

“I will create a new approach to my parenting career by structuring my days to accomplish more in less time.  I will solicit the help of my children with certain chores and basic tasks.  I will incorporate a family night each month that will create cohesiveness and provide some good, old-fashioned family fun.  I will discuss the possibility of planning some “field trips” that will be educational, uplifting and fun for the entire family.”

Now that you have written broad goals for each of the three categories, type them up in Word or write them all out on a fresh piece of paper where you can see all three categories on the same page.  To make this even more meaningful, try adding visual images (could be clip art, magazine clippings, drawings or any other graphics) to emphasize the look and feel of each category’s goals.  This does not have to be elaborate, one or two images will do.  The reason for adding the visual images is to stimulate the creative side of your brain and to give yourself something visual to look at from time to time as a reminder of how you will feel as you continue to aim for these particular big-picture goals.

Congratulations!  You are done with the second phase of goal-setting.  Now that you have completed your inventory and your broad goals, you are well on your way to creating smaller goals which will make it easier to plan out actions and behaviors accordingly.  Set this exercise aside until our next (third) phase – and check back here in one week for Part 3 of this series (Breaking it Down:  Setting Smaller Goals preparing for the Implementation Stage).

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