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Bucket List: Item 3

How to Set Goals That You’ll Love All Year Long

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: Woody H1

Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was.

— Robert Louis Stevenson

At this time of year, we’re all thinking about setting and achieving goals.


Because with the new year, comes the opportunity to “start over” and who doesn’t want an opportunity to start over – at least on some things.

So where do we put our focus?  We put it on the things that we don’t like about ourselves.  We decide that we’re going to change from our today selves into our perfect selves.  The thing is no one has ever met our perfect self.  Not you, not me, not our friends.  Our perfect self doesn’t exist, and more important, IT NEVER WILL!

With Age Comes Wisdom???

Ok.  So, I’m never going to be perfect!?!?  Seriously???  Then what am I trying to do?

Good question.  And as Ellie pointed out in her post earlier this week, it’s questions that get you where you’re going.

Year after year, we do the same thing – we decide what we ought to do and we make resolutions to fix what needs fixing.

At least, that’s the way many of us do it.  And the worst part?

The worst part is that at this point, many of us don’t believe that our resolutions will have any effect on our lives – except to worsen our self-images, because we already don’t believe that we’ll keep them.

What a yucky way to start the year!

Try Something Different

So, if what we’ve done in the past doesn’t seem to work, how can we shake it up?

One way is by asking ourselves the right questions as Ellie recommended.

It seems at the beginning of each year, we focus on what’s wrong with us.

  • We eat too much.
  • We don’t exercise enough.
  • We watch too much TV.
  • We watch the wrong things.
  • We don’t read enough.

And on, and on, and on…

So, may I suggest a question that takes a different approach to the new year?

What Do You Want More Of in 2013?

What will increase your happiness this year?  Fudge?  Travel?  Books?  Movies?  Adventure?  Learning?  Friends?  Pets?  Family?  Church?  Volunteering?  Work?

I don’t know the answer for you, but I bet you know it.  So, let me suggest that instead of the old style resolutions, running away from or stopping stuff…  choose to run toward what you want.

Here are five positive actions that you can take that move you closer to your dreams.

  1. Make a 2013 bucket list.  In the 2007 movie The Bucket List, Edward and Carter meet while being treated for terminal diseases.  They decide to run away and do the things that they always wanted to do but never did.

    Why wait?  Pick some things that you’ve always wanted to do and resolve to do them in 2013.

  2. RIGHT NOW – Decide the first action that you will take to accomplish each of the things on your 2013 bucket list.  Write it down.  Schedule it.  Commit to it.

    Isaac Newton told us that a body in motion tends to stay in motion.  Although he was talking about physical objects, it’s true for us, too.  Once we get moving, it’s easier for us to keep moving.  So take that first step.

  3. Take a leap of faith.  It’s quite possible that you don’t know how you’re going to accomplish the things on your list.  That’s Ok.  Author, T. Harv Eker states that “When you’re in motion, that’s when things begin to line up, not before.”  Get moving!

    It’s not that you don’t need a plan, but it’s possible that what you really need is to take your first step before you can figure out the next step… and the next…

  4. Improvise.  In dramatic improvisation, the rule is to respond with “yes and…”  So often we look at a new challenge and we respond with “but, no”.  Create a new habit.  Ask yourself, “If I respond with ‘yes’ what else can I do?”
  5. Publish (or perish) – not literally, but find like-minded people and share your plans with them.  Now, you (both or all) can deal with the unexpected together.  You can share ideas, pool resources, challenge each other, and buck each other up.

    Remember Edward and Carter in The Bucket List.  They did things together that they never would have done alone.

Make resolutions that move you toward more time doing those things you want to do.  If you fill your time with the stuff you want, the things you don’t want will take up less of your time.

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