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What are your Intentions?

Welcome to 2018! I truly hope that your Holiday season was fabulous and like myself, you are excited about the New Year. Today I would like to chat about goal setting, resolutions and what some thought leaders have to say on the subject.

Proponents of goal setting suggest that a life without written goals one is similar to a boat without navigation. A ship floating aimlessly…. lucky to be going anywhere of interest, or at best drifting with the waves of the masses and other people’s agendas. Some go as far as to say that a goal without a deadline is merely a wish.

Challengers would say that setting lofty goals may cause undue stress and if the goals are not met feelings of pressure and failure will be the only result. Law of attraction thought leaders suggest that knowing what you want is key. Conversely, firm deadlines may result in a state of “efforting” and as such work in opposition to “allowing” and manifesting through a general sense of well-being and inner peace.

Even those with a good habit of goal setting often fail to achieve the desired results. Last year a study at the University of Scranton determined that 92% of people that set New Year's goals never actually achieve them. Less than 8% of goal setters achieve their goals? I don’t like those odds.

Then, of course, there are New Year’s resolutions. I think we all begin to contemplate how we will do things differently at the end of a year or any cycle. However often we throw out the desired end result to a significant endeavor with one sweeping brush stroke setting ourselves up to fail. Change is one of the hardest things to accomplish and should not be approached without a strategy. A recent article in Readers Digest states “Of the 45 percent of Americans who make New Year's resolutions, only 8 percent see them through—probably because they're more like dreams than goals.” Wow, there is that darn 8% again! Who are these people?

After years of experimenting with all of these approaches, my objective for 2018 involves a few steps and it is also my recommendation for you. I suggest we set goals with target dates to achieve them rather than DEADLINES. I just don’t like that word. Nothing dies when we accomplish a goal or complete a task, right? Targets have the capacity for movement, in any direction. If you find yourself off target, a small adjustment may deliver the desired outcome whereas a missed deadline feels like a failure. Moving towards a target requires a plan, practice and possibly missing it a few times. Nonetheless, on this journey you are witnessing the progress and growth toward your goal. That feels good!

This year consider what you want to accomplish and set one or two BIG goals for yourself. Set a target date to achieve this goal and then reverse engineer your plan to get it done. Achieving a BIG goal probably requires a number of mini-goals or maybe even behavior changes. Don’t attempt to change everything all at once. That may work for a week or even a month, but your emotions and responsiveness will change from day to day and your plan must acknowledge that.

Take out your planner, write down your BIG goal in INK on a page up front, pencil in your target date and for each month between now and then establish monthly goals that line up to that target. Next reverse engineer each monthly goal. What weekly actions will it take to accomplish that sub-goal? Lastly, take those weekly goals and break them down into daily activities. Usually, there are only 3-5 things you need to do every day to create a compound effect and make big changes. Now you have a viable plan to reach your goal and you can join the 8%!

Consider making the decision to become more intentional in 2018. Small deliberate choices made regularly can add up to a significant outcome over time. Make that one extra call each work day. Getting out of your comfort zone (AKA - off the couch) one evening a week to network or connect with friends and family. Take 10 minutes on Sunday to plan your week. Review your goals at the start and end of each day. Intentionally get out of your office for 10-15 minutes twice daily for some movement. This will certainly benefit your body and mind but also probably make you more productive the rest of the day! These small intentional shifts will give you the slight edge you’ve been searching for to create an amazing year.

My final tip is to remember that the journey to achieving any goal is the JOYFUL part! Sure hitting that target should be an exhilarating moment, but then what? Isn’t that feeling of excitement in anticipation of the outcome and the dreaming of what will be, and celebration of the progress a huge part of the adventure? Recognize those feelings. How do you dream that you will feel accomplishing that goal? Savor those feelings and your goals will come to you as much if not more than your own effort. Action is important, but enjoy the expedition that is your life between accomplishments.

In closing, if you must “Resolve” to do something this year, I suggest a light and fun challenge for yourself. My husband Parker did this for 2017. His New Year’s resolution was to drink more Mexican Beer. Ha! What fun we had throughout the year reminding him of his declaration! This inspired me for 2018. My New Year’s resolution is to use my china and silver more often… find more reasons to party and entertain! I am excited to see how many times we get it out this year because I intend to have much to celebrate and I wish that for you as well!

Happy New Year!

Brenda Ridgley

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