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Getting ready to set goals

family self development Jan 11, 2017

Most of us make resolutions or set goals in one or two areas of our lives. The majority of New Year Resolutions or goals tend to focus around the areas of health (weight loss) and career.

A better way to live our best selves is to see the big picture of our lives and begin to assess and make goals in many areas.

There are many ways to do this. We will look at one way today and another tomorrow.

The first way is to set goals according to our roles in life.

Think of the roles you have in life.

We have family roles (mother/father, son/daughter, spouse) work/career roles (employer/employee, manager, team member) community roles (community member, leader, pastor).

Now consider where you may set goals for improvement.

For example, in my role as a mother, I may need to work at being patient and to listen more.

In my role as a supervisor at work, an area for improvement might be to give effective and timely feedback.

What are some of the roles in your life currently? Can you identify...

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Process and outcome goals

There are some changes that we desire to make in our lives are habit related, for example, to exercise "more", eat "healthy", go "less" on social media. These are mostly the kind of resolutions that we make.

We will refer to them as 'process goals' because these are permanent changes that we wish to implement in our lives. Things that we want to give up or new habits that we wish to adopt fall under this category.

Regular exercise is a great example of a process goal. This is something that ideally we would like to become part of our lifestyle.

There are other goals which are outcome related, such as "lose 20 lbs", "read 10 books", "make 1,000 sales" etc. Goals like these are accomplished when the target is reached.

Of course process and outcome goals can work really well together in many areas of our lives. In health for example, a process goal would be to exercise 6 times per week and an outcome goal might be to achieve a blood pressure reading of 120/80 or better. The outcome...

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How are your New Year Resolutions going?

Did you make New Year Resolutions this year? How are they going?

If you are like most people, you made some resolutions (that you have made before) and are already beginning to fall behind. Statistics show that less than 10% of people who make New Year Resolutions end of keeping them for the duration of the year with most people failing to keep their resolutions within the first quarter of the year.

Does this mean that we should just give up and not work at becoming better or achieving progress in various areas of our lives?

Not at all.

We just need to rethink how we are going about it. In other words we need to set ourselves up for success so that we have the best chance of achieving what we are working towards.

As a first step we need to move from making resolutions to setting goals. What's the difference, you ask?

A goal has is a clearly defined target while a resolution is just a hopeful change that requires no plan. We can resolve in our minds to make improvements, but until...

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What are your roles in life?

When we are doing the end of year reflections and setting goals for the new year, it is easy to focus on one or two areas of life which we may be preoccupied with at the moment while ignoring others.

Living our best self requires us to pay attention to all aspects of our lives, even areas which may not immediately come to mind.

The first step in thinking this way is to define the 'domains' of our life. Another way look at it is to consider our various roles in life at present, at home, at work, in our communities and in the world at large.

For example, here are some 'domains' which may be applicable to you:

The health domain
The spiritual domain
The work domain
The business domain
The marriage domain
The parenting domain
The volunteering domain
The community service domain
The domain of family relationships/family of origin, extended family
The domain of friendships
The home organization domain
The domain of self growth and actualization

Do you get the picture?

So start making a list of the...

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What were the biggest lessons learnt this year?

Did you get a chance to 'clean up' unmet goals and commitments over the weekend?

As we continue with our end of year review, let us reflect on the life lessons that this year has taught us.

It is important to reflect on lessons learnt, because it has been said that those who don't learn from their past are doomed to repeat it.

So what are some of the lessons you have learnt this year?

While you are writing them down, it is a good idea to write them in short positively worded statements such as:

1) I learnt that if I keep taking small consistent steps towards a goal, they really add up
2) I learnt that it REALLY pays off to bite my tongue when I want to be right
3) I learnt that God always sends a sign when I need it the most. I need to be clear in asking for it, though!

Do you feel like sharing some of your life lessons from this year? I would love to hear them!

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How is project "Self Development" going?

I love projects. I love the fact that a project has a clear beginning and an end, with a feeling of achievement once it is completed.

For much of my life, I saw various aspects of self development as a project. Once I had achieved these projects, I told myself, I could put a check mark against them. Done! And then move onto other projects.

Here are some examples of my self development projects:

1) Become more patient
2) Become more positive
3) Be less angry
4) Forgive more
5) Be less resentful

It did not, however, work out as I had envisioned. NOT. AT. ALL.

What I noticed what that there were days when I was really positive and patient and then other days, not so much! But this is not how a project is supposed to work is it? Once you have completed a project, it is not supposed to be undone, is it??

It took quite a bit of awakening to realise that working on oneself is not a project. I begun to recognize that all aspects of self development are actually practices.

On days when I...

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Look for what is right

The human mind is wired to scan the environment for what is wrong. We tend to take what is going well for granted and focus on what is not going well. That is what our mind naturally focuses on.

Imagine that you walk into the kitchen and your children have been baking. They did their best to clean up but left 3 dirty dishes on the counter. What does your mind focus on? The 6 pots and pans that are in the dishwasher or the 3 that are on the counter?

But here's the thing: we get more of what we focus on. When we focus on mistakes and things that are wrong, guess what we will get more of? That's right. Mistakes and things that are wrong.

Imagine though, if you walk in the kitchen and take a moment to acknowledge that the children did, in fact, put away some of the dishes.

This kind of focus DOES NOT come naturally to most of us. But we can all learn this by intentional practice.

And it really does encourage people to try harder to do more of what we acknowledge.

Are you ready to start...

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Can you?

Do you ever question yourself about what is possible for you to do?

Leadership and personal growth guru John Maxwell writes in his book, "The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth", that how you ask yourself the question about your abilities greatly determines whether or not you will achieve something.

This is how he says it:

"At first glance, the questions Can I? and How can I? may appear to be very similar. However, the reality is that they are worlds apart in terms of results. Can I? is a question filled with hesitation and doubt. It is a question that imposes limitations. If that is the question you regularly ask yourself, you're undermining your efforts before you even begin. How many people could have accomplished much in life but failed to try because they doubted and answered no to the question 'Can I?'

When you ask yourself, 'How can I?' you give yourself a fighting chance to achieve something. The most common reason people don't overcome the odds is that they don't challenge them...

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What are you concerned about?

One of the books that changed my life is Steven Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Over the next few days, we will explore a tiny bit of the wisdom from this wonderful book (named one the most influential books of the 20th century).

Covey uses concept of the Circle of Concern versus the Circle of Influence to explain how we can take responsibility for our own lives.

The best way to understand these concepts is to actually do the exercise. It only takes a few minutes initially but has HUGE payoffs as you deepen your initial understanding.

To begin, take a piece of paper and draw a large circle on it. Please label this "My Circle of Concern". In this circle write down everything that you are concerned or bothered about in your life. Go on. Don't hold back and don't overthink it. The more you write, the more things are likely to come to mind.

The circle of concern is a VERY large one for me. It contains everything from climate change to the state of the Muslim Umma to the...

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The Difference between intentions and goals

A question that often comes up with setting intentions is this: What is the difference between goals and intentions?

Although goals can sometimes be confused with intentions, they are in fact quite different.

A goal is a desired outcome in the future. A goal is something that you set by thinking about a specific outcome that you want. For example, my goal could be to get a certain job, to achieve a milestone in health or to commit to a long term relationship.

An intention is about how we commit to showing up in our life everyday, regardless of what is happening around us. It is the guiding principle or value that we act from, and it is very much based in the present moment.

For example, an intention related to relationship might be "I intend to relate with honesty". This would be a guiding principle in my relationship regardless of whether or not my ultimate goal of being in a committed relationship is met or not.

Having a clear intention means that whenever I stray away from...

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