Almost exactly to the day, fifteen years ago, I established a special ritual. It was January 1, 1996 and as I prepared to actually write down my goals for the year, it never occurred to me that this exercise would become a fulfilling rite that motivates me to dream big and better. From “Technicolor” and high definition I’ve move on to Surround-Sound-3D goals!

Unlike a contest, when it comes to setting goals, there’s no closing date. We’re only a few weeks into the New Year so the timing is perfect. All the holiday brouhaha is over and with this ferociously cold weather, what could be better than quiet contemplation in a cozy, warm room?

Not to put a damper on the time-honoured tradition of making resolutions, but setting goals takes personal aspirations to a new plateau. Instead of simply resolving to lose ten pounds, the goal setter determines to keep them off. See what I mean? You’re putting a spin on a resolution and by making it a goal, you’re providing the extra steam necessary to reach that plateau.

Part of my ritual is reviewing some of my goals from past years. As I read my old notes I’m amazed that dreams have become reality and in many cases, surpassed my wildest expectations. Clearly, goals setting, works for me. But it was a supplier who encouraged me to write about this annual rite of mine. He was so enthusiastic about the entire process and how it contributes to self-development, I thought I could offer some encouragement for establishing a goal setting initiative.

In my case, the instigator was my good friend Peggy McColl, whose life work is helping people achieve their goals. During the early years, she worked with me. Peggy made it fun. Although we laughed like schoolgirls, ultimately, she inspired me to establish my goals and — to dream. Now, I review my goals every day. I even record them so I can listen on my IPod.

Peggy’s process helped me develop my focus. Now, it’s my turn to share this process with you. Here we go!

I start by listing the 8 main categories:

Relationships: Personal and Professional
Health and Fitness
Business / Career
Personal Development / Education
Donations / Community service
Fun stuff: things I’d like to do, to have

Then I answer these 3 questions:

What’s stopping me from achieving my goals?
My identity today, who do I believe I am now?
My new identity, who am I now?

Then, my big dreams — I call it my wild sheet. Dreaming big or small costs the same but dreaming big is a lot more fun! It’s critical to start every sentence with I am, I have, I … etc.

If nothing stopped me:

Who would I be?
Where would I be?
What would I have?

And finally, a last little nudge. Setting goals is positive and fun. Besides, you’ve got more to gain than to lose!

Author's Bio: 

Diane Craig
Image and Etiquette Expert

Diane Craig, President of Corporate Class Inc., is a leading image and etiquette consultant. For over 20 years she has provided corporate consultations, helping hundreds of men and women realize their professional and personal goals. She is a sought after speaker at national business meetings, regularly gives comprehensive workshops to corporate groups, and offers private consultations on business etiquette, dress and dining.