Thursday, February 12, 2009

Goals...Why have them?

One thing you will learn about me is that I feel strongly about having goals? Goals are something I use in my everyday life. I’m one of those people that needs to see or at least have a finish line. Goals were always a part of being therapist and something I have incorporated into my jewelry business. They give me something to focus on and help to hold me accountable for my life and aspirations. As an Occupational Therapist, goal writing is like blinking. There are classes devoted solely to learning the skill of good goal writing. Not to mention that the concept is peppered throughout all the other classes and an integral part of our profession. As an O.T., I would write goals on a regular basis for patients/clients, students, co-workers and for myself as a professional. I know what you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal? Just do it.” Well that’s where a lot of people get lost or rather their goals get lost. Setting a goal is key to reaching an accomplishment. If you are going to put something out there that you want to target, you can’t be wishy-washy. If there is no way to quantify what you are trying to do and no deadline to reach for, you’re just talk.

To set a good goal, first determine what it is that you want to do; be healthy, get organized or have more family time. Things you need to know are: a who, what, how, and/or how much and a when. Ok, we know the who (that would be YOU). We know the what (that’s the goal in general). Now we need to fill in the rest of the blanks. The best goals or the goals that actually work are the ones that have a few extra key points. All goals need to be measurable, have a time frame and be realistic. Otherwise, we won’t reach them. So what the hell am I talking about??? To measure something, I need to put a number on it. “I will loose 5 pounds.” Five pounds is realistic and something that I feel confident that I can accomplish. (As apposed to twenty-five pounds) Now we need to establish a time frame. If I just throw a goal out there I can always say that I am working on it or that I will focus on my goal tomorrow. (There will always be another tomorrow). Can you say procrastination? “I will clean off the top of my desk by the end of the week.” Now I know when I will be held accountable so that each day I can see if I am getting closer to reaching my goal and adjust my actions accordingly. That should take care of the basics of what goes into writing a good goal.

Now we need to consider if we want a long-term goal
or a short-term goal.

Well, how big is the task and is it something that might need to be broken down into several smaller tasks? You don’t eat an elephant in one big bite do ya? I know…cliché but you get the idea. Right? It’s all about the baby steps. Ok, my long-term goal is to have more balance in the various areas of my life by the end of 2009. Now this is a big job and could easily be lost in the chaos of daily life or procrastinated. (There’s that word again). To reach my long-term goal, I need to break it down into one or more short-term goals. How does this help? It will give me opportunities for success. By reaching the smaller goals, I will gain motivation to move forward in reaching the bigger goal. So, I need to identify the various areas of my life and set goals for each of them. I know that each day I want to give my attention to: my kids, my house, my “family” as a unit, my business and me. Hey! Why am I at the bottom of the list? I know. I know. That is where we usually put ourselves. I guess I should be happy to be on the list. To really reach this goal, I need to sub-divide into achievable goals, ensuring that they are measurable and obtainable. That will enable me to take the baby steps towards the bigger goal and ultimately success.

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