First: set goals

What is a life without goals? We've all known people­­ including ourselves sometimes­­ who wonder aimlessly through life without goals. We fritter away time watching television or just bumming around. The potential is there but we lack direction, motivation. Life feels meaningless: a ship without its rudder.

During times of transition in our lives and times of loss it is normal to lose direction, feel paralyzed, wander and not know when it will all end. This process, although it feels empty, is also important. Before we can fill a bucket with fresh water we have to empty it. When the bucket is finally empty, one finds a readiness, a real need to reach beyond feelings of loss and find new direction. At this point, even though we may be ready for new direction, it will be all to easy to become discouraged and slip back into old modes of thinking and doing. Now is the time to set goals.

A few highly-motivated individuals find setting goals is an unconscious process that comes easily. The majority of people find they will have to work at it. And, in fact, many individuals have no idea how to put their lives in motion with the use of goals.

Before you begin to set goals, allow yourself some time to dream. What is it you have always wanted to do? What kind of person do you want to become through work or personal life? Where do you see yourself in five, ten or 30 years? This may sound oversimplified but too few people truly understand their own desires­­ the stuff of their dreams. Or perhaps we think of dreaming as childish or self-indulgent. Without dreams we are destined to only skim the surface of life rather than living it to its fullest.

Next, identify your purpose which will unify, solidify and help you gain focus. Authors of Dare To Win, Hanson and Canfield, state "A purpose is the underlying direction that gives meaning to our goals: leaves attached to a growing tree have the purpose of keeping that tree alive and healthy."

Then you must learn to believe in yourself, in your dream. Never doubt it, never look back. You may find road blocks, times of rejection and failure; use these as learning tools. You will reset your course, change your tack but don't give up, make your efforts the best and stay focused on the outcome.

Finally, it is essential to write your goals down. You need to have short, medium and long range goals. Short term goals would be the everyday day-to-day stuff that adds up to the bigger picture. Say you are going to use foods and supplements to lower your cholesterol but you start each day with an Egg McMuffin. This is not working a short range goal. Your medium range goal might be to have your cholesterol checked monthly to make sure that the foods and supplements you have chosen are working to bring the numbers down. The long range goal would not only include the lowered cholesterol but the real benefits of having improved health: more energy, vitality, less worry about a heart attack or other related health problems.

When the time comes that you lose your direction, and we all do, looking at your written goals will help you stay focused on the outcome. They help reaffirm your belief in yourself and your ability to live your dreams.

Some other tips:

1. Dream big, but be realistic with yourself and in your goal setting.

2. Getting there should be a big part of the fun. If it isn't fun, then maybe you need to reassess your purpose.

3. Don't take yourself or your failures too seriously.

4. Have a belief in a higher power and don't be afraid to ask.

5. Last, but certainly not least, take a risk! You may fear that you won't achieve your goals and feel like a loser. Join the club. It's a known fact that those that fail the most end up succeeding more often than not.

You've got to walk before you can run; you'll never know how good your life could be unless you try.

Till next time, Rebecca.

Posted to Zephyr Online November 19, 1998
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