I have felt for a little while that I have been floating about, not really focused on my goals, probably because they seem to keep changing, and probably because it is so much harder without my husbands support.
Recently we finally sat down and discussed indepth (scary for most men, I know!) where our relationship, family and lives in general are headed and what we want. We have always had different aims and goals in life, but for once we are on the same page and it has re-energized and refocussed me.
What surprises me is how many people don't know how to properly set goals. A goal is something you are going to (Or try your damn hardest to) achieve or want. When you set a goal, it is not a matter of going, "oh, gee, I really would like to lose 15kgs!" You need to write it out clearly and have a plan.
Firstly, have a good think about what it is you want. What are your goals? Goals generally come from our dreams and desires. Make sure they are realistic though.
Often it is easiest to separate our lives into catergories, such as financial/career, health, family, etc...
We have set ourselves the goal of paying our house off in a certain number of years(I wont say here, because it is a secret between my husband and I). We have also set a goal to spend more time together as a family and another one to take our family around the world when the eldest is 10.
Besides our family goals I have my own personal goals. The biggest being lose 20kg/ be a comfortable size 10 - 12. I am more interested in being fit, toned and healthy than a certain weight!
Once you have decided on your goals write them down clearly. They need to be specific and defined. For example, "Our house will be paid off by 2020." (That's not the real years, I'm still not telling!)
Thirdly write down your plan of action. Without a plan of action, it is just a wish on a piece of paper. Kind of like driving somewhere you've never been without a map or GPS. Sure, you'll probably get there, but probably not with the desired result.
The plan of action needs to be specific. Set a definite time frame (In our case 2020 is just over 10 years). How do we plan on achieveing it? Well, that is a mini-series of lifestyle changes and goals all on it's own, which I wont go into here, but will delve into further detail with later.
Write exactly how, when and why. Set mini gals, or stages. As in, by December 2010 our mortgage will be $xxx,xxx. By 2011, it will be $xxx,xxx etc... You get the idea.
When setting goals, be realistic. Do not try to do too many at one time and don't try things like "I will lose 30 kgs by next month." It is not going to happen and can be crushing when it doesn't.
Have rewards for when you hit each mini goal.
Be flexible. Even though you really want to achieve something, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. It may mean you have to extend the timeframe of your goal, or the means by which it will be achieved. Sometimes, after working on a goal, we realise, we don't really want it anymore. Our life has changed and is going in a better direction.
I find it important to always have goals though. Even if they change. It gives a sense of purpose, something to aim for. A reason to keep doing what you are doing. The feeling you get when you achieve a goal is amazing.
Share your goals with others. It makes you more accountable and mroe likely to stick to them. Write them down and have them in places you will see them, on the fridge, back of the toilet door, bedroom wardrobe, in your wallet. You need to see them regularly to remind yourself what it is your are aiming to achieve.
So, set some goals and go hard!