It’s the top of the New Year. By the way, if you missed my holiday message – Happy New Year!

At this time, you and I are bombarded with messages about resolutions and goal setting. (And yes, irony of ironies, I’m weighing in on the conversation.) The flood of emails and news reports also probably means that, like me, you’re coming face to face with a few repeat offenders – aka, those goals that show up year after year!

You work and work and work on the goal and yet you’re not able to claim victory and say, “Yes! I achieved XYZ.”  Or, you haven’t made the sort of progress that makes you proud – feeling all tingly inside for a job well done.

What a sucky way to kick-off the New Year, right?!

I can write about this, because I can relate to it. And this got me to wondering…perhaps I am going about some of my goals the wrong way. You might be, too.

Maybe the goals that keep showing up over and over are inviting us to dig deeper and we keep missing the clues. What do you think?

Think about your goals. How have you worded your goal? Is your language more focused on the problem you no longer want to have or the result you want to have?

The difference may seem slight, but it is extremely significant. Re-read the bolded question above; can you feel the difference in energy? Isn’t the latter more inspirational – doesn’t it make you feel good about yourself?

The first thing you may be doing wrong when it comes to goal setting…

Is focusing too much on what you don’t want (energy drain), and not enough on what you do want (invigorating!).

When you compare the goals you did achieve to the goals you didn’t – especially those repeat offenders – can you pinpoint a difference in your approach? Were you so focused on the outcome that you overlooked the process?

The second thing you may be doing wrong when it comes to goal setting…

Is not having a system (or specific process you’re following) for how you get from “here” to “there.”

When you create a system for how you’ll achieve your goal, you counter some common goal-setting traps. For instance, with a system:

  • you determine what you need to do each day, week, and month to make the goal happen — this counters the “when, then” trap; the immediate results trap (you measure increments instead); the superman/superwoman trap (aka – the false belief that you’re in control of everything)
  • you have an inherent feedback loop so you can objectively (and not just emotionally) track your progress and identify potential leaks or previously unidentified opportunities
  • you place following a schedule over having a deadline

With a system, you’re more likely to avoid the ultimate goal-setting trap: thinking the gap between “here” and “there” is a straight line. Usually, you experience the gap as an arc!

The third thing you may be doing wrong when it comes to goal setting…

Is sharing your goal with others. Your goal – in all its glory – may be too overwhelming for them.

Instead, share with them your system for achieving your goal. This not only helps you ask others for help, but it makes it easier for them to identify how best they can serve you – rather than you telling them how they can help you. (Another one of those slight, but significant differences.)

The way I see it, whether it is a new year, a new month, or a new day, each new moment is asking you and me: “What do you want me to do for you?”

Having clear goals and a system is one way to answer that question.

Again, Happy New Year! I hope and pray 2014 is your best year yet. May your burdens be light and your blessings beyond measure!!

p.s. I’m hosting a Financial Open House on Wednesday, 8 January 8pm ET. You come with your questions; I’ll show up with answers – some of which you didn’t even know you needed. Click here to register…it’s free!

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