Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mental Balance - Goal Setting

I was born of a goal.  Not that I myself was the goal although I am told there was some celebration.  At the very least, it was a big day for me!  I was born at a time when fathers weren't allowed in the delivery room.  The thing was, my dad wanted to be in that delivery room and when he was told he wasn't allowed, that didn't work for him.  During my rapid expansion time, my parent worked towards a goal of both of them being present for my birth.  They achieved that goal, although in a different city, and in addition to receiving lots of newspaper coverage for their fight they had a story to tell me growing up.  From a very early age I knew that goals could be accomplished when set and that a 'no' didn't always hold up to the persistence of determined people.

As the end of the year approaches a some people will chose to set goals for the New Year and many determined people will accomplish them. 

My earliest memory of personal goal setting is as an 8 year old.  Months before I turned 9, I accomplished my first goal which was to get a paper-route delivering the Sarnia Observer.  To accomplish this goal I began to follow and assist the current holder of this prestigious position, a red haired 'older boy' whose name currently escapes me.  I helped him for a year always talking, as I am bound to do, to him about how wonderful having this paper-route must be.  When this pre-teen eventually retired he graciously recommended me as his replacement!   According to my new supervisor, I was, the youngest paperboy ever to be hired by the Observer but the red-haired boy had given me a spectacular reference and on that boy's recommendation I was to be allowed to take the job.

As I began to rake in the financial rewards of my labour, my parents wisely suggested that I save my income for something special.   As I have many family members in Holland, my goal was that in the summer of my 10th year I would have enough money to buy a ticket to Amsterdam.  My plan was to travel there by myself and stay with family.  During the summer of 1983 that goal was accomplished and not only did I buy that ticket and have spending money left over,  I also had enough money to buy a few extra items specifically a Walkman and a stereo for my room. 

I tell these stories to help illustrate a point that most of us will know which is that what happens to you in your early life will often dictate your paradigm for future potential.  As we grow we develop this awareness of ourselves and what is possible.  We too infrequently revisit these belief systems.  Paraphrasing Ayn Rand, you don't have the choice as to whether or not to have a philosophy of life; you only can choose whether you want to consciously choose that philosophy. So, choose wisely as your life and your happiness literally depends on it.

For many years I set goals for myself personally and professionally in my mind but not formally.  In 2009 I decided to formalize that process and began to interview friends of mine that I knew to be goal setters about their processes.  Why re-invent the wheel right?  I attended seminars on the topic and finally set goals for myself using a structure that I found to be very helpful.  So for those of you who would like to set goals for the New Year but aren't sure how, here is that structure.
Use these nine areas to brainstorm goals for next year.
1 - Personal Health/ Physical, 2 - Family, 3 – Business/Job Optimization, 4 - Financial Sophistication, 5 – Professional/Societal Contribution, 6 - Spiritual, 7 - Social, 8 - Mental, 9 - Vacation/adventure/toys

Try to have at least one goal in each category and the idea is to have up to 100 goals in total. Some of the goals should have one year timelines while others should be 5 year, 10 year or lifetime goals. The longer range goals should be reviewed annually.

To set your goals find a half an hour of personal time, in a location where you feel powerful and content but that you don’t have distractions. Brainstorm for the half hour and then carry this sheet around with you for a week making additions or changes on it. Ideally you would read it over at least once in the morning and once before sleep so that you can keep your sub-conscious active on it.

Once you have set your goals, then the action steps begin. Choose from your annual goals and create timelines for completion. Punctuate that timeline with both rewards and consequences relating to each of them. The rewards and consequences part should be both exciting and scary, while simultaneously being fairly equal in the amount of pleasure/displeasure they will bring you.

The idea is simple, take the time to figure out what you want and you will be much more likely to achieve it. Let things come as they may and you leave it up to the universe, perhaps it will still work out but that becomes relatively much less likely.

Until next time, I hope you found this helpful.  This article is written to address and assist you with your mental balance.  In our practice we believe that your body is intelligent and with a proper balance in the critical areas of your mind, your body, your chemistry and your environment, you will be as healthy as you can be.

Have fun,


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