Setting Meaningful Goals for the New Year, Part 1

So, it’s not quite New Year’s Day yet when you’ll start working on your list of resolutions, but if you are anything like me, you’ve started thinking about what you want to accomplish in 2013. A new race distance to tackle. A project at work, or perhaps finding a new job all together. Sticking to a budget. Traveling to a new country.

Goal Setting

Many of us live by our to-do list, ticking off the items, driven by the achievement of a ton of little things. It’s a satisfying feeling to cross something off of the list. In some aspects that is a really great thing, being productive – we do more now on a daily basis than ever before, multitasking like crazy, consumed with technology.

But it is so easy to get lost. Get lost in all that we do, every day. We create this problem for ourselves when we draft a laundry list of goals at the beginning of each year. It’s empowering to start off the year with a list of 10 things you want to accomplish; it makes you feel like you are on the right track, starting fresh, focused.

But I would challenge you to look at that list and narrow it down. You won’t remember all 10 goals in 5 years, but you might remember how it felt to accomplish them if you narrow the list down to the things that are really meaningful. Focus on the ones that speak to your core values (and your heart); all of the others are just distractions.

Values are fundamental. Consciously or subconsciously they already drive how you live each day. If you are struggling, feeling unfulfilled, pause and check to see if your actions are aligned with your values.

To identify your current values (yes, they may change), ask yourself – If you stripped everything else away, all of the fillers and distractions of the daily grind, what would want to remain? What do you stand for? What gives you joy?

I sat down a few weeks ago and thought deeply about these questions. The words that came out were honesty, respect, loyalty, health, discovery and balance.

Once you have your list, try to first narrow it down to your top five or six. You might be able to combine a few or you may need to decide that one just doesn’t make the cut. With your final list, take a stab at prioritizing them. If you were to be known for only one of your values, which would it be? Now you have your number one, and can repeat the process with the rest. Believe me, this is the toughest part.

My values are prioritized (right now) as balance, respect, discovery, honesty, health and loyalty. Whew, I had some major internal struggle with that one. I would rather them all be equal!!

In a separate post, I’ll break down one of my personal goals to demonstrate how goals and resolutions can align with your value system. It’s a method I’m trying, so I’m not an expert, but I believe this approach will leave me feeling more fulfilled in 2013.

What are your core values?


5 thoughts on “Setting Meaningful Goals for the New Year, Part 1

  1. Pingback: Setting Meaningful Goals for the New Year, Part 2 | oh, to have the world on a string

  2. Pingback: Finding Flow | oh, to have the world on a string

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