30 December 2011

The Last Top Five Friday of 2011: Learning to Set Goals

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. 
~ Victor Frankl

This weekend, we will all make resolutions.  And we will keep them for about a week; two if we’re strong; all year if you’re Mother Teresa.   As I mentioned on Tuesday, I  set out to start 2012 out differently.  This time, I would make goals and by gosh, by golly, I was going to keep them and realize them!  But where to begin?  And how to  make it stick this time?

A wise man once said that you should surround yourself with people smarter than yourself so that you can learn from them.  So I did what I do best ~ read what other, smarter and more successful goal-setters were saying on the subject.

Some articles were about as helpful as a raincoat in Death Valley.  Others were too clichéd.  And some knocked my pen top off.  Today, I bring you the top five articles I found helpful in setting my 2012 goals.

I have mentioned Christine Valters Paintner here and here before.  She is an amazing person with a big heart, a gifted writer, and an affirming mentor.  In Give me a Word, she encourages us to do some soul searching and come up with a word for the year. 

I’ve been choosing a word to describe how I want my year to be for awhile now and was excited to learn that someone else does this too!  I’m still pondering and meditating on what my word for 2012 will be.

In addition to Goodlife, Mary Jaksch is also one of the main writers behind the great writers blog, Write to Done.  Which reminds me, I need to do one of their blogging boot camps in 2012 ~ add that to the goal list!

While this article is not about goal setting specifically, Mary lays out some great steps to help find peace amidst the turmoil and chaos that life can throw at us.  I don’t know about you, but peace seems like a pretty good goal to me! 

I love how silence is step number one.  With all of us being plugged in 24/7, now is a good time to make an appointment with and for yourself to unplug, unwind, and take time to just think about where you are and where you want to be.

I love Barrie Davenport.  She’s another great writer and mentor in the blogosphere. Her posts break things down in manageable steps and she’s always ready with an encouraging word. 

Personal Development highlights twelve steps to prepare for goal-setting.  She takes the tired old resolutions we all used to make [lose weight, exercise more] and repackages them in ways that make “the medicine go down” so to speak. 

For instance, Barrie asks “What have you been feeding your beautiful, amazing body over the last year?”  A question that forces you to examine your eating habits while at the same time affirming your beauty and the goodness of the body.  So much easier than “I resolve to lose weight.”

I keep returning to this site for career and business advice.  But it can also be used for mapping out personal growth.  From this article, they link to several other ones on goals, such as Backward Goal Setting, and Motivate Yourself.

Allyson Whipple is a blogger on SheWrites.  She has an excellant list of broad writing goals with a breakdown into categories and smaller steps for 2012 that is worth reading and adpating to your own writing goal needs.  I found it helpful when developing my own list. 

The key to goal keeping is to break things down to a manageable level, something most of these sites do.  Having one large list of broad goals is not only unrealistic, it’s overwhelming.  Not everyone throws up their hands at such a list and gives up right at the start, but for most of us, it’s tempting. 

Smaller steps give us opportunities to succeed early in the game and reward ourselves.  They also give us permission to fail and try again, thereby ensuring we actually will try again.

Here’s to growing stronger and healthier on all levels in 2012!

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

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