What I Learned from Goal Setting in 2013

Goal Setting

I have been a long time goal setter.  This past year I decided to do something different.  I suspected that some of my goals were only whims and not true desires.  I wanted to find out what goals were really my goals.

My idea was to write out my top 10 goals on January 1 for 2013.  Then on January 2, I would take out a clean sheet of paper and write out my top 10 goals for 2013 without looking at what I had written on January 1.  I was to complete this exercise every morning for 31 days and see if my top 10 goals remained consistent for the entire month.  If I noticed that some goals failed to make the list every day then possibly that goal was not as important to me as I thought.

Here were a few of my top 10 during those first few days.  I would give you all my top ten, but some a bit too personal to share.

  1. To improve the outside space at home and create a place for fun and entertaining by the end of August
  2. To give myself four opportunities a week to make income.
  3. To go on a trip to Israel and Egypt by the end of the year.

These goals were all S.M.A.R.T goals which mean that they were 1.Specific 2.Measurable 3.Attainable 4.Realistic 5.Timed

After about a week I found myself trying to remember what I had written during the past few days.  I even wanted to peek a few times, when it seemed I couldn’t remember what I had written.

A couple of odd things happened during this experiment.  There were a couple of goals that I started out with that I decided were not really goals that resonated with me after several days, so I simply decided they were not worth pursuing as goals for the year.

At the end of one month of writing these goals every day, I had a sense that this exercise was going to lead me to something really good, so I decided to continue this for another month.  My thought was that if I continued to keep my goals in front of me, that I would be much more likely to stay focused on my goals and be able to complete more of them ahead of schedule.

What happened next I was not expecting.  After about fifteen days in February I began to get a bit restless with my goals and even grow tired of them.  I began to doubt the validity of any of them and I began to ask myself, what are my real goals.  I wasn’t sure what I was asking myself, but I began to ask myself what was really important to me on a deeper level.

I asked myself a new question.  What are the goals of my heart?  This question made me think of my goals in a new way.  I was now answering my heart goals instead of my head goals.  Once I started asking my heart for its goals, then my head goals had to be reevaluated to see if they really were congruent with my heart’s goals.

To give you an idea of what I mean by heart goals I will give you four examples of about twenty I came up for myself.

  • To really communicate with others.
  • To make a significant contribution to others.
  • To conduct myself in a way that causes people to trust me.
  • To be valued by the people who know me.

Once I had identified these heart goals, I reevaluated my head goals, deleted several of them because they didn’t really fit in with what my heart wanted to accomplish.

These new goals began a  trans-formative work in me.  A new goal began to resonate with my heart to complete the book I had started on The Power of Humility, The Secret to Being Happy. So I put aside most of the goals I had written in January and the first of February and began in earnest to complete the book.

I had to make a decision to sacrifice income in order to complete the book that I knew had little chance of replacing that lost income.  However, the decision to follow my heart’s goals has been very satisfying.  It has also opened doors to allow me to speak into and even minister into other’s lives in more powerful way than I have ever done before.

I look forward to making new S.M.A.R.T. goals this year, while using my heart goals as a more solid foundation of what I really want to accomplish with my life. Though I still need to generate an income, I trust that enough ideas and opportunities will come along to meet my needs and even more than enough, so that I can invest into a few good works of others.

Tell me a goal setting story that has impacted your life.

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