“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
As we draw ever closer to closing out the year and welcoming in a new beginning, I encourage everyone to begin giving thought to their list of goals for the coming year. While contemplating the possibilities for the year ahead, keep in mind the words of one of my mentors, the late Jim Rohn who said, “For things to change, I have to change” or the variation, “For things to get better, I have to get better.”
Setting goals for the coming year is the perfect time for self-examination and reflection. We set goals because we want to improve. We want things to “get better”. If the purpose of goal setting is to improve our lot in life and if we know that for things to change, we must change, what better time is there to reflect on what we want to change about ourselves than when setting goals?
Self examination is not a time for ‘playing nice’, it is a time to be brutally honest and admit things about ourselves we may not like to admit. Admitting the truth to yourself, about yourself, isn’t as easy as it sounds, especially when we have probably spent months, or even years, living in denial. That’s how whatever the problem is we have been avoiding became a problem to begin with.
Unfortunately, even brutal honesty isn’t going to get us to our goal. Honesty is certainly the first step, but that’s all it is – the first step. To reach our goals they must have clear definition. Saying, “I want to lose weight” isn’t a goal, it’s a wish. There must be specificity. Turn that into something like, “I will lose X pounds per month until I reach my target weight of XXX and I will do this by …” Now you’ve got a specific goal with a plan in place to achieve that goal, but you’re not through yet.
To really make it real, you’ve got to memorialize that goal. Write it down. Studies show unwritten goals are only achieved about 7% of the time. Conversely, written goals have a 600% higher success rate. To be successful in reaching your goals they should be written and reviewed often. Don’t just write down your goals and tuck them away safely in your desk drawer. Keep them where they will be read often as a constant reminder of what you want to change in your life. Otherwise, life will get in the way and you are likely to side-tracked from achieving your goals.
Now you’re ready for the most important step in making a positive change – taking action. You’ve identified the things you want to change in your life, now you must act on it. Without action, nothing happens. It’s also important to remember, goals are just that, goals. They can be amended as your priorities change or if you see that you set an unrealistic goal to begin with. It’s like sitting down to your favorite meal. You may start with the goal of eating a plate full of food only to find your eyes were bigger than your stomach, but then, if you’re goal really is to lose weight, that may not be a problem.
Monty Rainey is a District Manager working in the self storage industry since 1996 and currently overseeing 21 stores in the Austin & San Antonio, TX area. He is also a leadership coach and public speaker. For a free consultation, please contact Monty at 830-743-2139 or visit his website at http://www.montyrainey.com .