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Goal Setting For Everyone

December 29, 2011

“I always tell people if you do what’s in front of you well, then you’ll get bumped up to the next level. You can have big visions, but make sure you’re doing what’s in front of you every day the best of your ability to bring that about success.”

Jack Canfield

Find a Team that Shares your Dreams

Sometimes when we talk about supporting people with disabilities to identify and share their goals, people will say that “we” (people without disabilities) don’t have goals so why should they?  So it’s an interesting time to consider this idea when all around us people (without disabilities) are saying they’ll lose weight, quit smoking, drink more water, make new friends, work harder or work less hard, or take a class, or…?  In fact, most of us do have goals.

I like how Jack Canfield talks about setting goals.   One of the things he says is that a lot of us are afraid to set goals because we’ve worked hard to accomplish things previously, and then realized it wasn’t what we wanted – he says something like “we put our ladder up against the wrong house, climbed to the peak and realized it was the wrong roof – and we don’t want to do that again!”  This idea made a lot of sense to me when I first heard it – but the “wrong” goals might just be the right goal at the wrong time, or they might be things that show us where to redirect our energy.   As we get more experienced in goal setting and accomplishment, we can get closer and closer to what we really want, and we can support those we care about in the same way.

Canfield also talks about the idea of a goal oriented GPS – that if we write down what we want, and put reminders in places where we’ll notice them, and make affirmations – getting to our goals becomes much more likely.   Someone else talks about a “north star” – a vision of us accomplishing our goals that can guide us.

Another thing Canfield talks about in terms of goals is how to use your network to accomplish them, in a few ways.    First, if you find an accountability partner they can help you stay on track.    If you are swerving off-course it’s their job to tell you so, and then you can redirect yourself.   Second, he suggests finding a mentor – this is a great idea and he calls it something like “find a wing to climb under” – someone who has what you’d like to have, or does what you’d like to learn how to do, or just has qualities you’d like in your own life.   Finding, asking, and spending time with a mentor can also be a great way to expand your network.   Third, surround yourself with people who support the goals you have made and keep reminding yourself of – sometimes we think we’re being kind and even instructive by continuing to include people in our lives who are always negative, but it might be healthier for us and for them if we cut the ties and say enough is enough, or at least minimize contact.

You can learn more about Jack Canfield’s ideas in his book The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.   It’s a great book to bring in the New Year.   One opportunity in supporting people to share their dreams and goals is that as we support their aspirations, we can learn how to dream and set goals for ourselves, and then support each other.

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