I think of the New Year as a time to discover new choices and to write the next chapter of our lives. It should be a time of renewal and reflection not regrets and guilt.
This year set goals that excite and energize you instead of making you feel more hopeless and ashamed. Learn from the most energetic creatures I know – children. Give your goals a dose of life-affirming energy, by seeing the world as a child sees it.
1. Be Curious
A young child’s “goal” is based on curiosity. What does he want to explore or know?
I don’t think of goals as resolutions or destinations. Goals are stepping stones. What do you want to learn this year? What do you want to work on?
Kids naturally keep it simple. They learn one thing at a time. Building on the skills as they go.
How do we keep our goals simple? Try simplifying your goal into one word. Each year I pick a different word to describe my goal for the year: focus, confidence, launch, etc. What is your word?
Kids spend time doing what is important to them. Creating. Exploring. Learning. Removing and replacing. Leaping.
What is important to you? Spirituality. Relationships. Recreation. Education. Financial Success. Health. I only make one goal per value, and only if it is something very important to me. Do your goals align with your values?
4. Specifically measurable
Children dream in specifics. They want to be firemen and ballerinas. They want to ride a bike without help. They want to learn every fact about dinosaurs.
If you are going to dream big, make it measurable. A goal like wanting better relationships is too big. It’s hard to start, if you are unsure of the steps. Instead, be more specific, like taking negative comments less personally. How can you make measurable steps toward your goal?
5. Realistic bites
Kids don’t go on to a new task, until they’ve mastered the previous skill. It’s innate and self-driven.
Take realistic bites out of your goals and dreams. If it’s a delicious goal, you will want to keep chewing on it. If you have too much to eat, you will get full and tired quickly. What is realistic for you to accomplish today, this week, this year?
My kids are too young to get bored. Almost anything is a toy. They are resourceful. And, they won’t stop until they have made or found the tools they need.
What tools do you already possess to work on your goals? E-books on your desktop. Wisdom from previous years. What resources do you need to acquire in order to reach your goals? Hire a coach. Take a class. Read a book.
7. Adventure focus
Children seem to know better than us, that life is an adventure. Accidents happen. Obstacles are treasures. Enjoy the moment.
Do you harbor guilt about goals left to attain? Guilt doesn’t belong in an adventure. Each step is important, even if it takes you away from your goal. Let go of absolutes and resolutions. Lean into life’s adventure – your learning is already in progress.
Marci Payne, resident of Lees Summit, is a Licensed Professional Counselor who offers Life and Relationship Coaching at http://liberatingchoices.c om.