When It Comes to Goals, Start Small

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Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand. - Zechariah 4 (New Living Translation)
January first is the start of disappointment for many people. There have been many years that I've started the year with the best intentions, the most incredible resolutions, only to abandon them in a couple of days, weeks, or months. Whether it was the year that I was going to lose 20 pounds in 4 weeks or make a million dollars in one year, I have have watched in frustration as these dreams slip through my fingers.

Smart Goal Setting Requires Bite-Sized Pieces

It doesn't have to be this way. It's not that my resolutions were bad. In fact, they were great LONG-TERM goals. It's certainly possible for me to lose 20 pounds, just not in 4 weeks. It's also possible for me to make $1 million dollars in one year. However, there are many steps prior to achieving this goal, like making half a million in a year. So, these grand plans were not SMART goals.

January is a Great Time to Set Goals

I've heard many self help gurus say that new years' resolutions are a complete waste of time. I humbly disagree. The problem with goals on January first is not really a problem at all. In fact, if you listen carefully to your heart during this time of year, you will discover your dreams. The key is to break these dreams down into achievable goals. If a goal is not achievable, then it actually moves you further away from your dreams not closer to them. When you stretch and fall short, you've made progress. However, when you set an impossible target and give up, you have limited your future.

Be Honest with Yourself

There is an art to setting goals that require you to stretch (even to your maximum capacity) without stretching so far that you break your will. You know yourself better than anyone. This is both good and bad. In some ways, you will limit your expectations because you have been unable to achieve great goals in the past. In other ways, however, you know within your heart whether you are stretching or staying in your comfort zone. Knowing the right amount to stretch and the time period required to make this goal a reality will require creativity, determination, and courage. Most of all, it will require you to listen to that still small voice deep inside and to follow your heart.

Action Steps:
* Take one of your dreams and set a realistic goal that you can achieve in one week or less
* Make achieving this goal a priority
* Once you have achieved this goal, set another achievable goal
* Repeat the above three steps four weeks in a row

One other thing you should consider is buying a Smart Goal Setting Planner.
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