The Best Time…
Question: When is the best time to plant a tree?
Answer: 20 years ago.
Question: When is the second best time to plant a tree?
– Author Unknown
We may laugh at this old saying, and it is humorous. It also holds a lot of truth. And it applies to almost anything in life – from doing homework when we were kids, to saving money for the future, to starting a healthy eating plan, to exercising, to date nights with a significant other to…. I could go on and on. But, the best question to think about here is, “What oak trees do you want to plant today?” So, let’s look at a way to help you plant all the oak trees you want.
It all really starts with knowing what you want! First, I recommend clients learn to dream, to use their imagination and creativity. The best way to do that effectively is to start a Dream List.
Answering these questions (excerpted from Dynamics of Personal Goal Setting) will get you started:
- What do you want from life?
- What do you want in the way of tangible possessions?
- How do you want to spend your time – both working time and leisure time?
- Where do you want to live?
- Are there places you want to visit?
- What accomplishments will bring meaning to your life?
- What relationships are important to your happiness?
- Who do want to become?
At this point, some folks feel that this if a futile exercise because they don’t think they can achieve their dreams. Warning: Don’t pre-judge your ability or worthiness to have, be or do anything you want in life. Now is the time to capture your dreams and use them for goal planning. Keep your list close at hand at all times and add to it anytime an idea of something you would like in life pops into your head.
Periodically, (at least once a year) schedule time to pull out your Dream List, and really think about it. Including items from your Dream List, identify your long-term (5-10 years) and your short-term (1 year) goals. Write positive goal statements that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible.
Now, identify the following:
- The deadline by which you want to achieve each goal
- The benefits you will gain from achieving each goal
- What possible obstacles could occur and possible solutions for each obstacle
- What actions will be required to achieve each goal
- When you will work on each action
- How, how often and when you will track your progress
- What will keep you motivated to continue when the going gets tough
- What you need to know/learn in order to make progress
- Who needs to know about your goals
- How you will be held accountable
- Your affirmations and visualizations
By using a detailed process like this for goal setting, you are 97% more likely to achieve your goals than if you do not have written goals! Keep this quote in mind.
“If you are not now making the progress you’d like to make and are capable of making,
It is simply because your goals are not clearly defined.”
– Paul J. Meyer