It’s February and a lot of us may feel, “Huh, weren’t we just celebrating Christmas the other day, and thinking of our resolutions for the Year of the Dragon yesterday?”
The thing about life is it just goes on whether you’re on board or not. Days, months, years pass whether you like it or not. It’s good to be spontaneous and it’s fun to be with spontaneous and carefree people but we can’t afford to just go with the flow all the time.
We need to have a plan, a purposeful plan. Most people do it at the start of the year. Unfortunately, only a few sustain the enthusiasm throughout the year. Before yearend most have totally forgotten their goals. Some totally abandon setting New Year’s Resolutions because they know they won’t fulfill them anyway.
In one of his Finish Rich books, David Bach discusses a very important element that we always fail to consider when we set goals. It is knowing our values first. He narrated a story wherein he asked the participants in his talk, “What are the values that money enables you to fulfill?” It took them a long time to answer the question. It was only after some help and examples from the speaker that the participants were able to give answers such as Happiness, Security, Marriage, Spirituality, Love, Family.
On the other hand, when Bach asked them, “What material things would you like to have that money can buy?” everyone was quick to give their multiple answers – a new car, diamond rings and earrings, signature bags, yacht, rest house, long vacations, new kitchen, big closet, expensive bike, and so on.
It’s interesting to note how we can easily enumerate the stuff we want to buy but struggle to do the same when asked what values we want to live by. If we are not careful, we might spend our lives just chasing the stuff. Bach says that this is one cause of midlife crisis. After years of working and accumulating the stuff, we realize that these stuff don’t make us happy. We accumulated the wrong stuff because we were not guided by our core values.
To live a more purposeful and meaningful life, we may want to redo our goal setting to follow these steps:
1. List down your top 5 values.
Guide: Values are the very basic things that we want and deem important in our life. These are not material things but some profound belief system we want to live by. When you list down your values, think deeper into yourself. It has to come from your gut, and not just something that looks nice on paper.
2. List down your top 5 goals for the year.
They should all be in line with your top values.
3. Make the goal specific, detailed and measurable.
This will allow you a better way of assessing your progress throughout the year.
4. Make an action plan to be done in 48 hours.
This doesn’t mean that you have to take giant steps in 2 days but it’s just an effective way to set your goal in motion. They say if you let a goal just sit for more than 48 hours, chances are you’ll never get into moving towards it at all.
5. Enlist help.
If you come to think of it, there is no such thing as “self-made man.” All of the great successful men we know received help from other people. And most of them just had to ask. This is one of my favorite lines to live by, which I passed on to my sons, “You only have to ask.”
Here’s an example to guide you:
- Value – Health (In order to live a long healthy life.)
- Goal – To reach ideal weight
- Specific and measurable – Weight should be 105 lbs, waistline should be 26 inches. All these to be achieved not later than December 1, 2012.
- Action plan in 48 hours – Check the internet on the best exercise and diet plans, inquire with nearby fitness centers
- Enlist help – Ask a couple of friends to join in the program.
So there. It’s the first day of February and there’s enough time to properly set our goals, this time with our core values in mind.
Good luck and happy goal-setting!