How to Get Started with Goal Setting

By Katherine Somerville

The idea of following a roadmap to achieve your goals seems easy enough. It’s much like using a GPS: You get into your car, punch in your destination and then follow the instructions. But traffic snarls, so you deviate. Then there’s construction blockage, so you take another detour... “Oh boy, I need another coffee!”

What does your destination look like? Will you recognize it when you get there? We ask ourselves so many questions, wondering if we even wanted to go there or if we’re only doing it because it’s expected. You may think, “Should I just give up and go home?”

At the December’s last stroke of midnight our instinct is to proclaim, “This year I’m going to do it!” But why? Why make a list of goals if there is no reason for them? That’s like getting in your car to go - but without a destination to go toward. You may end up in circles. You may end up further away from what you want. You may end up lost, stressed and out of gas. To help you from feeling stranded, here are five helpful tips for framing your goals.

First, Take your time! Dedicate the hours you need to determine your true desires and how you want to feel. Embrace those feelings—especially if you are in a challenging situation at the moment. Hang on to the positive feelings because that will help you move forward. Without any self-examination, your goal setting may send you down a path that may become undesirable or not what you were expecting. Be true to your vision, desire and passion; it’ll guide you through your toughest challenges.

Next, name things you want or desire. Be specific and write them down where you can see them. Keep them handy as a reminder, but don’t dwell on them! Be mindful about how you treat yourself while you pursue your goals. Not fulfilling your promises? Don’t punish yourself. Your life will unfold with or without your worrying. Crying over not having what you desire may be counter-productive.

Then divide your goals into time frames. Consider the next one, three and five-plus years of your life. This can help you plan accordingly, but be sure to give yourself permission to revise your plans if needed. As life throws challenges at every turn, your perspective and priorities may change. Stay positive!

If you’re struggling with the above, then I would suggest you get equipped with a few good reads. I highly recommend this oldie but goodie: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Mr. Hill states, “All achievement, all earned riches, have their beginnings in an idea.” A more recent release that may get your perfect success map going is Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map. Her book and program can help guide you through identifying your core beliefs and have you answer the question: What do I either want to do, have or experience to create my core desired feelings?

Finally, observe life as it goes by with a compassionate eye, especially toward yourself! What may seem like a dead end may be just be a road block that needs detouring. In Napoleon Hill’s book, he describes a story of a miner that gave up on digging for gold he was convinced existed. He stopped digging only three feet short of hitting his jackpot. Had he not doubted himself, he would have achieved his goal. Despite his loss, the miner took this lesson and made a success from it.

Never give up on yourself. Believe in yourself.

From all the self-help and business success books and videos I’ve consumed over the years, I’ve noticed there is an emphasis on physical, mental and spiritual well-being as a major element to being successful in business. We are instructed that setting and accomplishing goals is as easy as: identifying the project, naming the time frame, listing what needs to happen and identifying who is going to take care of it. What is missing from typical robotic list making is purpose and vision—your raison d’être. Examining your core beliefs and feelings are the first steps to making YOUR road map to success. For me, it arrives with my gratitude every new year—not just for what I have or who I’ve become, but for the opportunity to live just one more day in pursuit of my goals.

Where will your GPS take you this year? Remember... “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, either way you are right.” - Henry Ford

This article originally appeared in the January Issue of our monthly magazine alongside articles from other great guest contributors and Kelsey, such as How to Find Your Calling, plus behind the scenes details from each January episode. To get the magazine subscribe here, issues are FREE but they expire each month so sign up today and download as soon they're available or you'll miss out! Subscribe


Katherine Somerville has been a professional interior designer in Ottawa, Canada, for almost 20 years. Through her martial arts and yoga practice, Katherine found her calling to build an architectural and interior design business with her partner and daughter to promote healthy living spaces, healthy people and a healthy planet. Katherine is a public speaker and currently writing her first book, Healthy Home, Healthy Planet—A guide to responsible living. To follow their journey go to www.nestedgreen.ca.

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