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Looking Ahead: What Do You Want December 2017 to Look Like?

Meredith Mahon Morris December 28, 2016

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December is a time for reflecting on the past 11 months and taking an account. When you look back at your calendar for 2016 what do you find? Can you measure what you have accomplished and which of your goals you met? Are you satisfied with your progress in certain areas of your life or do you find yourself feeling frustrated with your lack of progress?
Most of us, when we stare at the Christmas lights and self-evaluate, feel a sense of frustration over the goals we didn’t meet and the opportunities we may have missed during the year we are bringing to a close. The good news is this is the time to decide what December 2017 will look like. You get to decide, and there is no better time to make a plan and put it into action.
Most people come up with goals as they look toward January 1st, but very few write them down. This is unfortunate because committing your goals to paper and reviewing them regularly gives you a 95% higher chance of achieving them.  Even with this significant statistic only 3-4% of the world actually have written goals.

So why is this phenomenon of simply putting goals to paper so powerful?

  1. It causes you to clarify what you are wanting to accomplish or achieve. It helps you determine where you are headed and how you want to get from point A to point B.
  2. It narrows your focus. Determining specifically what you want to do, helps you be more intentional about how you spend your time. By writing your goal down and regularly reviewing it, you become more disciplined with your time.
  3. It helps you know when to say “yes” and when to say “no”. There will be many things that tempt you to shift your attention from your goals. However, keeping your written goals in front of you will help you maintain your forward movement.
  4. It helps you track your progress. When you have your goal written down you can see when you are making progress and what needs to happen to make progress.
 Setting goals can feel overwhelming. When writing down goals it is helpful to set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
  • Make your goal SPECIFIC. Don’t just say I want to get in shape. Answer who, what, where, when, which and why in your goal. For example, To get in shape I will join the YMCA and exercise three mornings a week.
  • Make your goal MEASURABLE. Be concrete in what you want to attain so you can measure your progress. I will exercise three mornings a week for 45 minutes each time and lose 5 pounds by Easter. When you don’t exercise three times a week you can see where you are off track and how to get back on track toward achieving your goal.
  • Make your goal ATTAINABLE. You probably realize it is not attainable to exercise absolutely every day and lose the total 45 pounds you need to lose within the first 90 days. Look at what you want to accomplish and break it down into achievable steps. I will exercise consistently for four weeks and then evaluate if I can possibly increase or change up my exercise times, with the goal of losing 1-2 pounds a month.
  • Make your goal REALISTIC. Don’t set a goal to exercise 5 mornings a week and then get frustrated with yourself when you simply can’t make that happen most weeks because of early meetings or late night events. Be careful to challenge yourself, but set yourself up for some level of success instead of frustration. It is motivating to challenge yourself, but not set yourself up to feel defeated.
  • Make your goal TIMELY. It is wise to set goals with a time frame. It mentally helps motivate you toward accomplishing that goal. It also gives you perspective. If you realize you lost 5 pounds in 3 weeks instead of the 8 week time frame you set, then you may be able to adjust your overall goal.
So what do you want December of 2017 to look like? What goals do you want to achieve over the next 12 months; but even more importantly, how are you going to achieve those goals? While it is important to shoot to meet your goals, forward movement is still success. While you may not lose all 45 pounds in 12 months, losing 40 pounds is a huge accomplishment. The process of disciplining your body, seeking accountability, increasing your strength through exercise, and developing healthy eating habits are all major accomplishments!
Part of the beauty and significance of goal setting is the process. Engaging in the process is a measure of progress. So consider your life professionally, financially, relationally, spiritually, and physically. Take some time to write down some S.M.A.R.T. goals for each area and make a plan!
What you do today will determine what your life looks like in December 2017.
So how do you want December of 2017 to look differently from December of 2016?

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