A Goal-Making Framework for the New Year

by Jan 1, 2019Coaching, Goals, Reflective Practice0 comments

Every year at this time we are invited to pursue new goals for the upcoming year — New Year, New You!

Hey, why not, given that with new things come new opportunities?

When faced with the endless fire hose of messages and claims and invitations, sometimes what we really need to do is to take some quiet time and consider what we really want for ourselves, where we want to go, and how to cut through the noise to focus on areas of our lives we really want to work on.

Enter one of the coaching tools known as the Life Wheel.

While this tool can have different names and different areas of focus, along with a way of using it as a scatter plot, I find the areas of focus to be helpful ways of considering the buckets in our lives that we want to work on as goals.

This then is the simple message for today, January 1 — take one or two of the 8 areas that you find most in need of focused attention:

  1. Work
  2. Money
  3. Community
  4. Personal Growth
  5. Health & Recreation
  6. Living Environment
  7. Family
  8. Spirituality

and come up with a goal that you can focus upon within a specific period of time, breaking it into small habits that are workable. I suggest thinking about something you can realistically — with a little effort — accomplish by the end of the month.

The end of the year is too far away and somewhat vague, so why even consider that sort of goal. Remember last year?

For example, let’s say that Spirituality is an area that you want to focus upon. Great! What do you want that to look like at the end of the month? Well, let’s say you want to be able to meditate a certain amount each day, like 30 minutes. Perhaps you can begin to work on a habit of meditating, such as two minutes a day this week? That seems easy and accessible (set your timer!), though if you do that each day this week you will be strengthening that habit while making progress toward your goal. Starting with daily 30 minute meditations is a bit a demanding place to start, right? Starting with two minutes, however, is doable.

That is the key with setting goals — make the small steps ones that are doable and realistic and then they are not insurmountable.

Goals are sometimes (often?) not achieved not because they are impossible, but because they are large and trying to make too many changes in too short a time without developing habits to support them will not be helpful (or even possible).

So, take one or two areas in the Life Wheel, draft a simple goal to achieve by the end of the month, and then commit to doing something small, each day this week, to work toward it.

You can do it!


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About Me

Jeffrey M. Keefer, Ph.D., is an educational consultant, institutional researcher and accreditation officer in higher education, professor of research methodology, nonprofit capacity building and strategic planning consultant, talent development coach, spiritual life advisor (chaplain) at New York University, spiritual director, and Wikipedian.