““He (or she) who fails to plan, plans to fail.” ~ Winston Churchill

Do you know what you want for 2011?

It sounds like a simple enough question but, do you REALLY know? Or, are you going about life on autopilot and not really thinking about what you want out of life?

When I lecture at the clinic or for corporate wellness in the workplace, I often start my workshops with information about the importance of setting goals. By a show of hands, I ask the audience to demonstrate how many of them have goals, and whether or not these goals have been documented. Throughout the course of my workshops, I have come to recognize that very few individuals actually make up goals for themselves.

Quite frankly, this shocks me! On average, two or three individuals will admit to having goals out of the 50 individuals in attendance. More often than not, only one of these people will actually have their goals written down.

I then ask the group what would happen if I got into my car after the presentation, not knowing my next destination. Where would I end up? Most people laugh and answer “nowhere” – which is my point exactly!

It seems like a silly question to ask but, if we don’t know where we want to go with our lives, where are we going to end up? We spend more time planning our vacations than we do planning our lives. Why is that?

A goal is nothing but a dream with a deadline. Creating a road map is necessary if we are to become successful individuals.

Ask Yourself…

*Have I established goals for the next year, 5 years, 20 years?
*Am I truly living the life that I want to live?
*Have I made myself accountable for what I want in life?
*Will my failed goals lead to unwanted consequences?

Our goals drive us. They allow us to shape our future, and provide us with the ability to grow and excel in each of our endeavors. That being said, it is important to remember that, in order to achieve our goals, we must first document them. When we do write down our goals something amazing happens; we become creators, creators of our own paths! Remember, what the mind can imagine, it can create. Anything is possible! HOW we are going to achieve our goals at the time of setting them may not be clear, but if reasons come first, answers will come second. If you have a big enough WHY, the HOW will manifest itself – You will find a way to make things happen!

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~Albert Einstein

Ask Yourself…

*Do I have goals that have been left unaccomplished for an extended period of time?
*Am I truly making strides towards accomplishing my goals, or am I hindering my own efforts either consciously or unconsciously?
*Am I willing to look at things differently, so that things can change?
*Am I open to new ideas or strategies that may positively assist me in the achievement of my goals? Where can I get ideas? Who could help?

Each year, on the first of January, I take the time to reflect upon my goals from the previous year. I like to evaluate what I have accomplished and review everything that has manifested throughout the year. It always makes me smile, how things have unfolded for the goals. It is verification that, even though I may not have known how I would accomplish them at the time, they had a strong enough WHY that it just happened…amazing how that works! To continue, now that I have reviewed my previous year’s goals, I am ready to set new goals and design a roadmap for the next year’s journey. My successes motivate me to create new goals for the coming year and open up my mind to all the future possibilities.

My Goals, Categorized

1. Personal development and relationships– What skills do I want to develop? What do I want to learn? What relationships do I want to create?
Career– What do I want to accomplish? What kind of impact do I want to have?

2. Fitness, nutrition and food for the soul– What level of physical fitness do I want to maintain or achieve? What can I do to improve my eating habits? What practices can I partake in that will cultivate my spirituality?

3. Material things and time savers– Have fun with this one – have I been dreaming about purchasing a new car or installing the latest home entertainment system? Or do I want to hire help for household duties, so that I can have more time with my family and friends?

4. Economic– What income level do I want to achieve? Are there investments that I would like to make within the next year?

5. Legacy– What do I want to leave behind? What do I want to be remembered for?

8-Step Goal Setting Strategies

1. Brainstorm each of the categories for 5 minutes, don’t think too hard and allow your thoughts to come naturally.

2. Next, establish a timeline for each of your goals, whether it be a year, 5 years, 10 years or 20 years.

3. Decide upon a few goals (three or four from each category) that you wish to focus the majority of your attention on.

4. Now determine the WHY of each of your top three or four goals.

5. Decide if the WHY of each of your top three or four goals is “strong” enough—does it empower you enough? If not, pick another goal from that category which does get you motivated and excited.

6. After that, put your goals through the “SMART” system.S – Specific – Is your goal too vague? Specifics help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do. Answered by what, why, and how.
M – Measurable – How will you know when you have succeeded? Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
A – Attainable – A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you.
R – Realistic – To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement!
T – Time-bound – Do you have a timeline? Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.

7. Beside each goal – write one action step you can take this week to get you closer to your goal (i.e.- If you want to start doing Yoga – Your action step would be to contact the Yoga school you wish to attend, and ask about their classes and schedule).

8. Make sure to place your goals in an area of your home, or office, which is frequently visited. The probability of accomplishing your goal(s) is increased when your ambitions are reviewed on a day to day basis. (Stay tuned for my article on vision boards and how you can create a powerful visual tool for your goals!)
Finally, have fun with your goal setting – you can do this goal setting session with your partner/spouse or a close friend. Personally, I refer to my goal setting sessions as a shopping list. It is my shopping list to the universe! Remember to THINK and PLAY BIG – the more successful and fulfilled you are, the more you will contribute to the people around you and ultimately, to the world.

Furthermore, embrace the fact that what we can think about, we can create – leverage the power of your sub-concious to plant the “right” seeds in your brain and watch what can happen!

Here is to living with passion, purpose and a plan and to an amazing 2011!

“Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there.” ~Bo Jackson

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp, B. Sc., D.C. is co-author of the book Wellness On the Go: Take the Plunge - it’s Your Life! And the founder of www.roadmaptowellness.com, and on-line wellness education program. Dr. Beauchamp is a chiropractor, a certified personal fitness trainer, a professional bodybuilder, a TV personality, a corporate wellness consultant and an inspirational speaker.

Dr. Nathalie Beauchamp www.drnathaliebeauchamp.com