“When you take a small purposeful step each day, great things can happen.”

Every January I get excited to come up with goals for the New Year. I’m a good goal setter. I see it as a way to challenge myself and keep things interesting. A bit like playing a game and figuring out which hoops I need to jump through to get to the prize. Sometimes I stick to these new resolutions…too often I don’t. I always have the best intentions, but I confess I haven’t always gone past this initial phase into taking the steps needed for success.

This year I made a promise that it would be different. This time, I’d reach the prize.

And so far, so good. On New Year’s Day, I actually crawled out of bed at 7 am swirling with resolutions to join a teleclass on creating my business plan. The fact that I was up so early was a good indicator of my intention and motivation! But what about the next day when I had to start working on the goals? To help me, I sat down and used the tool below so I would move forward toward success.
And today I share it with you- a simple strategy to help you set meaningful goals (at any time of the year) and create that plan of those first initial steps to get you moving forward and eventually following through:

  1. Get a piece of paper and fold it in half twice lengthwise and once crosswise (when you unfold the paper you will have created eight “boxes”).
  2. Consider 8 major areas of your life and label each box with a different category. Some areas might include: Family, work, school, friends, fun, money, health, environment, significant other/relationship, self awareness, spiritual growth,etc.
  3. Take a couple of minutes to remember what you have accomplished in the past year under each category. It might be a relaxing family vacation or finishing that class or repainting a room the exact color you wanted. Acknowledging what we achieved or what we were most proud of in the last year is one of the best ways to get excited about new goals. If you can’t remember any accomplishments or events, pull out a calendar to jog your memory. Or ask a friend, colleague or family member to remind you.
  4. For each category, ask yourself “How satisfied am I currently with this area of my life on a scale from 1-10?” (10 being very satisfied and 1 being very dissatisfied). Write this next to the label in that box and circle it. Do this without judging yourself. There are no right or wrong answers, only what is true for you. Typically, areas we rate lower in satisfaction are priorities we haven’t been paying much attention to lately. Often, it is these “low satisfaction” areas that are causing people’s unhappiness and give a good indication of what areas to change or set new goals in.
  5. Ask yourself “Why did I rate that area of my life as a 1 or a 6 or a 9.5?” What is working if even a little bit? What is missing? Again, give yourself credit for these accomplishments and don’t judge or allow that inner critic to limit your thoughts.
  6. This next step begins to define the strategies you can take to reach your goals. Ask yourself, “What can I do to raise my satisfaction in these different areas even just a little?” “What would it take to raise it one number?” or, “What is one step I can take that would e.g. take it from a “3” to a “5”?”
  7. Do this step…now! Or set a firm deadline to have this small step completed. Then go back and consider again, what can I do, now, to increase my satisfaction in this area of my life even a little.

These “baby steps” are just the beginning of making significant and meaningful changes in your life. By examining the level of satisfaction in each area of your life, you move those “good intentions” into action, thereby assuring a greater chance of keeping the momentum going and having success in reaching your goal.

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