Setting Goals

by mike on December 27, 2009

The New Year is approaching fast.  You often hear of people setting New Year’s resolutions.  The problem, of course, is that by the end of the first week or two, most people have already “broken” their resolution.  Therefore, I’m not a fan of making a resolution and making a big deal about it.  I am, however, all for setting goals for the year.  It is something I have done the past few New Year’s Days.  We all have heard that it is important to have a balanced life.  That is why I recommend making goals for the upcoming year in several “areas” of your life.  I describe each of these areas below:

1.     Spiritual. The most important area of your life to set goals is the spiritual.  What might these spiritual goals look like?  It could be anything from reading Scripture every day, attending some sort of extra service weekly, or volunteering for a charity.  The point is to stretch yourself and continue to develop your spiritual growth.

2.     Family. Next on the list is family.  I would like to take a step back for a moment first.  I suggest defining all of your roles within your family.  For example, I am a father, husband, son, brother and godfather.   I set goals for each of these roles.  The most important thing to remember in setting goals in your family life is that nothing is more valuable than time spent with each other.

3.     Physical.
The physical area is where most people usually spend most of their time making New Year’s resolutions.  They’re going to lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, etc.  These are all worthy goals and should be looked at in the context of a balanced life.

4.     Personal Development. In many ways, this can be the “fun” area.  Have you always wanted to learn piano?  Or have you just been dying to learn how to fly a plane?  It’s important to look at goals in your life that will add excitement and joy by making yourself a more rounded person.  One of my goals each year in this department is always to read at least one book per month.

5.     Career.
This may be something you are already forced to do at work.  If so, take it very seriously this year.  If not, then this is the time to assess what you want to accomplish in your career.  It is easy to get into a rut and just kind of show up for work everyday working on the same menial tasks.  Now is the time to go above and beyond.  You may also want to start that business you’ve been thinking about for the last decade.

6.     Social. Developing goals for your social life may seem a little weird, but I highly suggest it.   Most of us long to be social and have fun with friends, but we rarely make the time.  How many times have you said to your spouse: “we don’t do anything fun anymore, it’s always just about the kids and their events.”  I am obviously not suggesting putting partying it up every weekend in front of your kids’ needs, but I would suggest you set a goal to do something with your friends once a month.

7.     Financial.
If you work the plan I suggest, the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps, then often the goal is dependent upon which Baby Step you are on.  This year may be the year you pay off all of your debt.  If that’s already accomplished, then it could be time to get your fully funded 3-6 months of expenses emergency fund in place.  Another financial goal could be saving up for a vacation or a home remodel.

I would like to add an important note about setting goals in general.  Make sure they are specific and measurable.  In other words, instead of just saying I want to be a better Dad, I might say that I will spend an hour of one on one time each week with each of my children.  It is specific and can be measured (in units of time).  Another example is that I want to lose 5 pounds per month for the next year.  Instead of just saying that I want to lose weight, 5 pounds per month is specific and measurable.

Setting goals is something you should do if you want to improve your life.  Couples should each do this and then share them with each other.  Take the opportunity to make goals together as a couple in all the facets of your life.  It will make for an extremely rewarding and fulfilling relationship.  Happy planning!