How to Set Intentional Goals

Losing the holiday weight, paying down debt, or finding your voice in your small business. It’s the time of year where we reflect, look forward, and articulate to others the resolutions we are hoping to achieve.

I must admit. It is one of my favorite times of year. It’s the one time of year it feels safe to share the dreams on your heart with others. However, what happens when you live in a place when dreams are no longer articulated after the end of January? For most, goal-setting and resolutions is something that only lasts a few weeks. After a while, the mornings are too early to get up and work out. The hustle for the side business becomes too much. When you take out all of the sugar and salt from your diet you find that you crave it. Then, I make the obvious choice.

I stop and quit. I go back to my carved and deeply chiseled, set-in ways. Why? Why do we stop working towards our goals a few weeks in?

Does it come down to a lack of will power? Is it that we have terrible habits? I would argue that our problem with keeping goals is quite different.

Maybe we don’t know why we’re setting our goals to begin with….

As I set goals for the year, they can’t be set in the negative. For an easy example, let’s say you want to shed a few pounds. First ask yourself, how did I get here to begin with? What habits led to where you are now? Maybe snacking has become a way to cope and Netflix binging is a way of life. A great way to break these habits and move forward is reward. Yes, that’s right reward. The reward has to be both long-term and short-term. Its great a few months down the road to look into the mirror and know that you look and feel awesome. But what is the reward when your body craves white rice, sugared lattes, and chocolate? What is the short-term reward to get you to the long-term? What if after working out you get to watch one episode of your favorite show. (I’ve learned to turn the auto play button off on my account.) No one is motivated by punishment, deprevation, or shame. This is why we won’t get very far when we set our goals. Ask yourself, is the reward of the achieved goal worth it? What is the added value to your life? Does this sound like a beneficial use of your time? What are some short-term rewards that will help you get to the long-term goal?

When you set your goals, look back and keep things simple.

What are ways that goal-setting has worked for you in the past? What are the ways it hasn’t? When it comes to setting intentional goals, think about where you want to focus. Trying to achieve multiple goals at the same time is daunting and nearly impossible. Instead, keep your goals focused. You can always set new goals in a month or so once you’ve achieved your current one.

Discover your why.

How do you your goals help you move toward your destiny? Where do you want to be and what do you want to create? Are you filling your life with things that will help you get there? Or do you find that your life and goals are full of stuff? It’s about more than losing weight or breaking bad habits. It’s about fulfilling your dreams.

Remember: You’re killing it. One day at a time.

Every night before I go to bed, I process my day. As a person of faith (I’m a Christian), this means spending time in prayer and processing my day with God. Then, before I close my eyes I make sure to tell myself 3 things that I’m proud of. This could be something I did, a way I responded to a situation, stepped out, loved well, or just part of who I am. On average we consciously or subconsciously think over 27,000 negative thoughts a day. Its great to practice reminding yourself of everything you’re doing well. Big stuff. Great stuff, achieving your dreams, doing-what-you-love-kind-of-stuff that is happening in your life. It’s just happening in small steps. One day at a time. You’re killing it and doing exactly what you were made for. Didn’t kill it today? You’ll do it tomorrow.

What are some of your intentional goals for 2016?

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