The art of setting goals for a new year

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Gerry ChidiacEarl Nightingale tells us that “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.” This means we’re successful when we’re working toward a goal, not only when the goal is achieved.

High school students normally have the goal of graduating. I love telling my students that by showing up each day and doing each assignment, they’re successful because they’re progressively realizing their goal, no matter how far off it may seem.

The dawning of a new year is a time to look back on our accomplishments of the past year and set goals for the new year. How far did we progress toward our goals in the previous 12 months?

Maybe there are some goals we achieved with relative ease, maybe others are proving more difficult and we need to rework our plans for achieving them. Either way, we’re successful because we’re progressively realizing our dreams.

Setting goals is different from verbally making new year’s resolutions. The key with goals is to write them down. Many coaches advise we write them down in a concise manner and even give a deadline. In this way, we can reread them daily, they’re always fresh and we never forget about them.

We really do become what we think about and if we’re thinking about our goals, we will achieve them. We keep ourselves moving on the right course and we allow amazing things to happen.

Looking back over 2019, I’m astounded at how far I’ve moved forward. What has come clear to me is that it’s more important to know where I’m going than it is to know how I’m going to get there.

Though I faced disappointments in pursuing opportunities I could see, other opportunities moved my way and I ended up further ahead than I had expected. This is a very interesting phenomenon that I’ve noticed many times. When we face disappointment, it’s usually because something far better is lying just ahead. When we achieve it, we realize that what appeared to be a disappointment was really a blessing.

Some of my goals haven’t been achieved by the end of 2019 but I know they’re much closer than they were a year ago.

In looking forward to 2020, I evaluate the progress I made in 2019 and set new goals. It’s a wonderful, amazing and exciting process.

Whether or not you’ve set goals for yourself in the past, I encourage you to set goals for 2020. These could be in any area of life, from health to finances, from relationships to sports. There are many free tools available to help when setting goals. One I’ve found very useful is Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich. It has an excellent chapter on this topic and it’s in the public domain in pdf format.

It’s said that 2020 is the year of clear vision. This is a beautiful concept. We can remove the blinders of self-imposed limitations and see our true potential; the absolute and profound goodness we can offer to our world and the joy we experience when we give of what we are.

Good things happen when we give of ourselves. I often quote Nightingale as I discuss this with my students: “Do more than what you are paid for and soon you will be.” If one employer doesn’t recognize our dedication, we’ll find another who does.

Celebrate and give thanks for the growth that 2019 brought into your life and look forward to an amazing and wonderful 2020.

Celebrate what went well and make changes where changes need to be made. That’s what setting goals is all about.

Troy Media columnist Gerry Chidiac is an award-winning high school teacher specializing in languages, genocide studies and work with at-risk students.

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