Seven Tips to Setting Lifechanging Goals

“The brain is a goal-seeking organism.
Setting a goal creates structural tension in your brain, which will seek to close the gap between where you are and were you want to be, who you are and who you want to become.
If you don’t set goals, your mind will become stagnant. …Goals are dreams with deadlines.” — Mark Batterson

We’re nearing that time of year again —time to make some resolutions and goals for the New Year.

(I know, it feels a little too early to be thinking about it just yet. They’ve only just started playing Christmas songs on the radio and you haven’t gotten your fill of eggnog and Christmas cookies.)

But it is important to start thinking about your goals for the New Year sooner rather than later …

Because we’ll be in 2022 before you know it.

I mean, we’re in December when I don’t exactly know what happened to November …

Or October …

Or September.

(You get the idea. This past year has absolutely flown by!)

So, let’s talk about goals.

I’m not talking about losing 25 pounds or laying off the carbs; those are resolutions.

I’m talking about bigger goals. Long-term goals.

Don’t have any?

Has it been a long time since you’ve even taken a step back and thought about those bigger goals and plans you have for your life?

Here’s where you might want to start:

  • Make a list of long-term goals (even life goals).
  • If you haven’t yet, create your own, personalized bucket list.
  • Slot a chunk of time to think about a list of life goals you have; try to do it before the New Year begins.

I’ve looked at the life goals of a few people and their goals almost frighten me at first read.

I thought, “Wow, either I’m unadventurous or I’ve just never really dreamed that big.”

But it’s a good practice to check out other people’s life goals and bucket lists … even if it is a little overwhelming.

And if you are hoping to set goals for the New Year, here are seven tips to help you on your way.

Photo by Polina Kovaleva from Pexels

1. Create time to create goals.

“The sad truth is that most people spend more time planning their summer vacation than they do planning the rest of their life” (Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker).

Don’t create a list of life goals when you have time.

Make time to create a life goal list.

If possible, do it somewhere away from the “same old same old.”

Take an overnight camping trip and make your list by the light of campfire, or beneath a night sky ablaze with stars.

Spend a morning beside a lazy brook and let your mind wander like the rippling waters.

Even if you can’t get far away from home, go to a park, sit beneath a tree, and dream big.

2. Synchronize your goals with your purpose.

This might seem like stating the obvious, but make sure that the life goals you create are in line with your inner sense of purpose.

If you feel called to be a writer, you might not want to add “play on the national women’s hockey league” or “build a go-cart” to your bucket list.

3. Divide “ideal” from “doable.”

Mark a clear line between the things you would like to see happen and the things you know you can make happen.

There is a difference between “this would be nice” and “I can do this.”

Again, from the point of view of a writer, I might like to be a bestselling author. But that is not something I can make happen in a certain number of steps.

But what I can do is …

  • Hone and polish my craft
  • Learn about the ins and outs of the publishing world
  • Take classes on writing
  • Attend writer’s conferences
  • Make the time in my schedule that I need in order to write a book (or 50)
  • Learn how to market and advertise it.

Make life goals that you can translate into smaller steps towards that big overarching goal.

Otherwise, it will remain “pie in the sky.”

4. Create a timeline. Schedule it.

Set a time limit on your goal by putting steps toward your goals into your schedule.

Of course, this isn’t always possible for every life goal.

John Goddard — famous for his Life List — had “marry and have children” on his life goal list. But he obviously couldn’t put a specific timeline on that goal.

But when you are creating your schedule or revising it before the New Year, look at your list of life goals and try to work concrete steps into your schedule.

5. Share your “Life Goals” with at least one person.

Letting other people know about your goals gives you a sense of accountability, which enhances your desire to fulfill those goals.

If you never let a single person know about your life goals, chances are that you won’t have the impetus you need to make them a reality.

When I started NaNoWriMo, I announced that goal, and it is what made me focus on writing nearly 30,000 words in three days on the last three days of November …

Because I didn’t want to make a goal known to the world and then not reach that goal I set.

6. Celebrate steps along the way.

Even big people need little incentives. It gives you something to look forward to …

And it gives you yet another reason to reach your goals.

When I completed one of my semesters, my husband surprised me by picking me up from my last class and taking me out for dinner.

I was so touched, and we so enjoyed the date, that we have tried to celebrate little milestones events like that ever since.

7. Think “moon.”

There’s a quote that says, “Aim for the moon. If you miss, at least you’ll land among the stars.”

Any five-year-old can tell you that the moon is millions of miles closer than the nearest star, so that quote doesn’t really make sense.

But you get the idea.

Think big.

Think “moon.”

If a goal comes to mind, determine to super-size it.

What’s the biggest version of that goal you can think of?

Then take it a size bigger.

Photo by Breakingpic at Pexels

Thanks for reading!

I’d love to hear what goals you plan on setting for the New Year!

this post was originally published with New Writers Welcome on Medium.

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