Goal Setting: Chore or Pleasure?

Goal setting is a favorite past-time of mine. Hold on. Before you go bizerk and check out…stay with me for a paragraph or two. For some folks the word “goal” is a four letter word. Perhaps you – like some members of my family – would rather shovel snow, clean out the junk drawer, or do the dishes than sit down and revel in a good goal setting session. I’m not here to persuade you differently…but to share a perspective that may take the angst out of it.

I believe we are all heading somewhere this year. Knowing what you want will get you there faster. Writing it down on paper and then telling your friends, family, or coach will help hold you accountable to achieving your goal. For me, writing down what I want helps me bring clarification to my dreams and to prioritize them in a way that makes sense in my present circumstance. Then I can move towards them by taking baby step actions every day.

Whether you have or haven’t thought about, worked on, or written down your goals…what I’m going to share with you now are four virtues I think are necessary and worth cultivating in order to reach your dreams. I came up with these after pondering on why I did or didn’t meet my goals for last year. Here they are…(I would love to hear your list in the comments below…)

#1 Enthusiasm – or, being filled with spirit. Enthusiasm means “God within”. When we live with enthusiasm we are excited about life and are open to the wonders of each day. We do things with zeal and eagerness. We enjoy good humor, live in the moment and appreciate what we have. We follow our dreams with true joy. We bring passion to the mundane. Mantra: “I am inspired by simple things.”

#2 Simplicity – K.I.S.S: Keep It Simple for SURE! Be content with the basic gifts of life. Live reflectively and mindfully, aware of what is important and what is not. Enjoy the little things in life. Keep around you only what is useful or beautiful. I recently went through my spice cupboard and found spices that I hadn’t used for 15+ years! What do you have that can be thrown away, given away, refurbished, or given a new use? Keep meaningful things. Mantra: “I know what I care about.”

#3 Purposefulness – We are each here for a reason. Allow yourself to discover the part you are uniquely meant to play in life. Discern your intention and focus on it mindfully. Visualize it happening. Set goals and achieve them step by step, resisting distractions. Give each task single-minded concentration and excellence. Invest your full enthusiasm into even the simplest job. Trust the journey. Mantra: “I enjoy giving excellence to each task.”

#4 Self-Discipline – is having the self-control to do only what we truly choose to do, rather than being blown about in the winds of our desires or other’s expectations. Self-dicipline gives us the will to persevere and meet our goals. To be productive instead of procrastinating. We are able to weed out bad habits and cultivate good ones. Mantra: “I have the self-control to make wise choices.”

What are your thoughts? I’d like to hear what virtues you are cultivating this year! Please leave a comment below.

Top 5 Life-Affirming Practices

I’m here in St. George at the Huntsman Senior Games supporting my man in his quest to be the fastest biker over 50 competing against top cyclists in the state of Utah and from around the country. He’s pretty darn fast! How does he do it?

Single minded focus and great determination. He has what I call self-discipline (see definition of self-discipline in my recent article). Continue reading

Self Discipline = Serving Your Highest Good

I’m writing this blog from my outside office as I bask in the last warm rays of the sun and watch them slowly sink below the west mountains before giving way to the cool fall evening. I pause… reflect…and move on with my thoughts about self-discipline…

Martial arts require a tremendous amount of self discipline. Photo: Glen Edelson on Flickr

Self-discipline has always been a wrestling match between what I want to do and what’s good for me. Do I go to bed early like I “should” so I’m fresh for the next day? OR do I stay up late and tie up loose ends at work? OR catch up on my favorite TV program? OR finish an informational YouTube video I started earlier? OR <fill in the blank>.

There are so many good choices. How do you know which are the best choices? The BEST choices require SELF DISCIPLINE. Sometimes getting it all done isn’t realistic. How do you balance it out and not feel guilty if you’re not ON TASK and MAKING THINGS HAPPEN and PRODUCTIVE? Continue reading