Saturday, January 24, 2009

What's On Your List? The Importance of Goal-Setting

Some people work really well from lists. I am one of them. Generally, I start my days early because it affords me uninterrupted planning time. In our daily lives, there are many mundane yet necessary tasks that must be accomplished just to keep life moving. It is easy to get caught up in chores, errands, and work. These tasks often dominate one's "to-do" list and they take the attention off the big picture. Days and weeks can go by without any significant progress being made on weight-loss, increasing savings, paying off debt, home improvement, continuing education and more.

One of the most important things that you can do for yourself is to set goals. Doing so will give you some direction in life. Goals should be written down, precise, and include measurable steps to achieve them. The first step in goal-setting is to decide what you want to do. Inaction often results from the failure to first make a decision. Making changes and improvements to your life requires some introspection and honest self-talk. You have to "pump the brakes" a bit and take some time to consider the direction that you want your life to take. It requires work.

Have you ever taken a trip that has no destination? If your goal is to one day take a dream vacation, then you'll be dreaming about it until you pick the place. Once you've done that, it is now possible to calculate all of the costs associated with the trip. You can write a detailed budget and determine what your plan will be to fund the trip. Who will travel with you? When do I want to go? How long will I stay? What will I do once I get there? Do I need a passport? Once all of these questions are answered, it becomes a matter of prioritizing and setting deadlines for execution. This requires making a commitment to yourself to get it done. The sooner you begin this process and the more detailed your plan, the better your chances of realizing that dream.

Take a little time out of your schedule today and decide what single change you could make that would improve your life and go to work. You'll be glad that you did!

Be good to yourself! More next time...