Set Goals that Energize You (and Enter a Giveaway)

Gang on Stepping Stones

Photo: “Stepping Stones” by Anthony Cranney

I think of the new year as a time to discover new choices as we write the next chapter of our lives. It should be a time of renewal and reflection not regrets and guilt.

Many people struggle with sticking with their new years resolutions, because they set goals that are either unrealistic or guilt-driven. If you are setting goals because someone else said you should, then it will be hard to get excited about working on them.

Set goals that excite and energize you instead of making you feel more hopeless and ashamed. Learn from the most energetic creatures I know – children. Give your goals a dose of life-affirming energy, by seeing the world as a child sees it.

7 Ways to Energize Your Goals (Like a Child):

Have you ever been for a walk with a young child? They enjoy the journey and stop to pick up treasures along the way. Children are constantly exploring and open to learning new things. I think adults can learn a few things from how children approach life with awe and wonder.

1. Be Curious  – A young child’s “goal” is based on curiosity. What does he want to explore or know?

I don’t think of goals as resolutions or destinations. Goals are stepping stones. What do you want to learn this year? What do you want to work on?

2. Simplify – Kids naturally keep it simple. They learn one thing at a time. Building on the skills as they go.

How do we keep our goals simple? Try simplifying your goal into one word. Each year I pick a different word to describe my goal for the year: focus, confidence, launch, etc. What is your word?

3. Value-affirming – Kids spend time doing what is important to them. Creating. Exploring. Learning. Removing and replacing. Leaping.

What is important to you? Spirituality. Relationships. Recreation. Education. Financial Success. Health. I only make one goal per value, and only if it is something very important to me. Do your goals align with your values?

4. Specifically measurable – Children dream in specifics. They want to be firemen and ballerinas. They want to ride a bike without help. They want to learn every fact about dinosaurs.

If you are going to dream big, make it measurable. A goal like wanting better relationships is too big. It’s hard to start, if you are unsure of the steps.  Instead, be more specific, like taking negative comments less personally. How can you make measurable steps toward your goal?

5. Realistic bites – Kids don’t go on to a new task, until they’ve mastered the previous skill. It’s innate and self-driven.

Take realistic bites out of your goals and dreams. If it’s a delicious goal, you will want to keep chewing on it. If you have too much to eat, you will get full and tired quickly. What is realistic for you to accomplish today, this week, this year?

6. Resourceful – My kids are too young to get bored. Almost anything is a toy. They are resourceful. And, they won’t stop until they have made or found the tools they need.

What tools do you already possess to work on your goals? E-books on your desktop. Wisdom from previous years.  What resources do you need to acquire in order to reach your goals? Hire a coach. Take a class. Read a book.

7. Adventure focus – Children seem to know better than us, that life is an adventure. Accidents happen. Obstacles are treasures. Enjoy the moment.

Do you harbor guilt about goals left to attain? Guilt doesn’t belong in an adventure. Each step is important, even if it takes you away from your goal. Let go of absolutes and resolutions. Lean into life’s adventure – your learning is already in progress.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.
There are no mistakes, just chances we’ve taken.
Lay down your regrets, cause all we have is now”                     By India Arie, A Beautiful Day

What are you most excited about learning or growing this year? Share how you will work on infusing energy into your goals.


Blog Goals, Reader Survey, & Giveaway:

I am excited to share that I am entering my fourth year of writing for Liberating Choices. I started this blog in 2010 as an invitation to exchange ideas with my newsletter readers. And now it has turned into a resource that people visit daily from around the world.

While my regulars are a smaller but loyal group, I am super grateful to have you! I enjoy your personal emails and insights that get stirred after reading one of my articles. I live and breathe thinking about personal growth and relationships, so I love hearing your stories.

Each year I reflect on my blog, and make adjustments on the projects and topics I want to keep writing about. From your survey responses last year, I added a resource page, bookstore, and coaching service to my blog.

Now I am thinking it’s time to write a relationship guide you can keep. I am also considering focusing this blog solely on relationship related topics. But first I want your input, so please take the time to complete my 2014 Readers Survey here.

Complete the survey within the next 10 days (Deadline: January 20, 2014), and you will be entered into a Gift Card Giveaway. One person will be randomly selected each week by Survey Monkey to receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card. (Must be US resident & at least 18 to enter.)

One response to “Set Goals that Energize You (and Enter a Giveaway)

  1. Thanks so much, Marci. Fondly, Liz Campbell