Set the course

I am always amazed that people once sailed across the ocean using only their wits and the stars to navigate.  The goal to get from point A to point B would be a lot harder if not for the stars providing a point of reference. Each night, sailors could use the stars to stay on track or re-calibrate the course.  It wasn’t an exact science, but it was enough.

This new year, as you reflect on the past year, are you where you wanted to be last new year? Still on your way? Not sure how you got here? Often times, we are so on-the-go that we don’t stop to contemplate where we are headed. I’ve heard it said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Most of us desire improvement in our finances, our relationships, our physiques, etc. Yet, how many wonder why it never seems to happen?  That is because most of us are like ships sailing through the ocean without the stars to navigate. We might have a destination in mind, but we don’t actually know how to get there without a guiding system.

That is where goal-setting comes in. The New Year is a good time for resolutions, but we all know that a resolution without a plan is pointless. Many resolutions are just wishes. Simply wishing for something is leaving it all to chance, which usually ends in disappointment. If you really want to accomplish something you need a strategy.

Here are five tips to help you set your course for this year and beyond:

Pick your destination – Think about what you truly want to accomplish. Don’t be afraid to aim high. Think about your overall long-term goals and then what you can achieve in one year. Consider setting goals in multiple areas of life rather than just one overarching goal for the year. For example, set goals in categories like Business, Family, Spiritual, Fitness, etc. If you have one big goal, try to keep other goals minor. Too many big goals can cause burnout.

Align your value system – Figure out your “non-negotiables.” Sometimes shortcuts seem appealing, but they can cost you what you truly desire long-term. For example, you might get ahead faster if you skip your family dinners, but where does that leave your family relationships. Cutting corners can also get you into big trouble later on. Stay true to your values and your victory will be all the sweeter.

Make a plan – Grab your calendar! It’s time to block time in your schedule for your goals.  If you can’t devote time to your goals, they aren’t really goals. Set daily, weekly or monthly tasks accordingly.  Make adjustments as you go along.  Here are a few tools to help you get organized:

Get uncomfortable – If you want something that you don’t already have, you have to be willing to do things that are new and/or inconvenient.  Stay focused on the desired outcome and remind yourself frequently that it will all be worth it in the end.

Reset your deadline if needed – If you have a goal that is worth attaining, it is still worth attaining even if it happens later than you expect.  The storms of life, are a part of life. Blowing winds can throw us off track, but the point is to re-calibrate and keep moving toward your goals. The bigger the goal, the longer it tends to take. However, that doesn’t mean you give up. That just means you make strides, day after day, month after month, year after year, until you get there.

When YOU set your course by setting goals – instead of floating along aimlessly – you are more likely to reach your desired destination. Happy New Year!

~Evania Ku