As the season of believing seems to wind down, let me gently remind you that many dreams still wait in the wings. Many authentic sparks must be fanned before passion performs her perfect work in you. Throw another log on the fire. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

2014 ~

Like all new years, we enter it with excitement, hoping it will be our best year yet. The shouts of “HAPPY NEW YEAR!” — with horns and confetti and the kiss at midnight — usher in what we believe is going to be our best year yet. We say it aloud, Happy New Year!  Even if we are not at an event as the new year arrives, many of us stay up to “usher in” this new year, devoid of negative marks on the calendar – a clean fresh page to begin again.

Some of our hopes and dreams were shattered for whatever reason this past year. We started off excited and then, because of different things that occurred, we put them on the back burner. Sometimes, they were pushed so far back that we actually have forgotten them.

When we see someone succeed at the dream or goal we actually had, our first thought is – that was my idea.

All ideas float through the air as if they are on butterfly wings, but it is the one that grabs the idea and acts on it that gets the prize.

We procrastinate, we fail to prioritize; we act as if we have all the time in the world. Dreams and ideas are illusive. You must grab them while they are in your line-of-sight.

Most of us are too busy to sit down and think about what we want.  The New Year is upon us and it is up to us to carve out that window of time for ourselves to plan.

My last two blogs had to do with goals. The first was encouraging ourselves to do anything to finish any one of the things we started out wanting to do at the beginning of the year – at least taking steps towards that, even if we could not finish. The second had to do with priming the pump, if you will, and thinking in terms of what you would do if you knew your time was extremely limited.

I am sure those thoughts were interrupted with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. We now have a reprieve – the next real holiday is Valentine’s Day, so it is now time to lay out what you want to do for 2015.

Many people were not taught to set goals. In fact, as a baby boomer, the only goal I knew anything about was the goal post for football. We didn’t talk about goals in our day. I don’t know if goals were not part of our parents’ lives since they were products of the depression, but none-the-less, most of us did not learn goal setting.

You can teach an old dog new tricks, so if you have never set goals, perhaps this is the year to start.

With St. Google ever at our fingertips these days, we can search how to do anything, but I am going to give you a simple formula that works. We like things simple today and it being simple, we are more apt to follow it or at least try it.

Get you a notebook that appeals to you. One that you gravitate towards when you look at it. That is step one; baby steps work well for those who have not set goals before.

After you get your notebook, the hardest thing to do is to look at the first blank page and see nothing on it. Writing on the page is your beginning.

Step two is writing down on that first page what you really want to do in 2015. Without a lot of thought start writing what you would like to do.  Write as many things as you can in 15 minutes; just write, do not dwell on any one thing you are writing down, or stop and ask yourself if it is really do-able. Just write.

Step three is to now go back and look at your list.This is the time to decide if the things you wrote are dreams or goals.  If they are dreams, they can still go on your 2015 list and you can begin steps to achieve them.

This is where you ask yourself a few important questions:  if money or other people’s considerations were not an issue, would you do this NOW?  Do I want to find a certain job; buy a new home or a car; go on a special vacation; go back to school; learn a new language; loose weight; quit smoking; have better health?  The list is endless.

You can have more than one goal, but I believe there is magic in threes and that is what I have found to be achievable. If you have not set goals before, or it has been a long time since you have done it, starting with one, but no more than three, so it will not overwhelm you.

You want to be able to say I DID IT at the end of 2015, and if you have too many, you are less likely to do any of them.

Step four requires a highlighter.  Highlight the three things you most want to do. A burning desire is paramount in moving forward.   If you get carried away and highlight more than three, you then have to decide which three you really want to do.  Desire is the tie-breaker for choosing.

Step five is to make an action plan for each of the three.  Start simple, but start. If hiking the Grand Canyon is on your list and it is a NEW venture for you, you might write something like go shopping for hiking boots; find out when the next TRACKS meeting is, or talk to a friend who goes hiking and arrange a trial run.

Step six is accountability. It is notebook time again, but we add one more thing – a Master Calendar. Depending on the number of goals you chose, get a notebook for each one – this will chronicle your success, and it will serve as a blueprint for setting future goals. Each time you take a step towards fulfilling one of your goals, write it down in detail in your notebook as to what you did and, yes, there is an “and”… also write what you will do next.

Write the date of your next action on the calendar and place your calendar where you will see it every day. All three goals – or less if that is what you have chosen – can go on that master calendar.

After you do the action, mark a line through it on the calendar. It feels so good to do this step.

You are on your way to achieving your goals for 2015.

If you follow the steps, the beautiful quote at the beginning of this post will not be applicable to you. You will be ready to set goals for the next year. You will be surprised how easy this actually was with this simple/do-able plan.

The hard part is just getting started. Commit to giving yourself a day or a half day or just a few hours to begin.

Remember the ancient Chinese proverb: The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

I BELIEVE you will make this part of your future once you do this just one time.

This is your new post-it-note should you decide to embark on setting your goals for 2015:


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