Three years ago I decided to start each new year with goals that challenged me in my career, fitness and spiritual growth. While I’ve been proud to share the successes, I have NOT reached every goal. I have fallen short, taken long detours and even reversed direction. So why continue to write down goals if they are just going to change? It’s fair to ask, “Why bother?”
To me, the thinking process matters more than the checklist list you tack on your bulletin board. Sitting down to reflect on what you’ve done and planning how to get to the next level is a healthy exercise. I even deliberate carefully on what I’m NOT going to do as well as what I AM going to do. Either way, I am not sitting still.
You’ve probably heard that the key to effective goal setting is to make them measurable. For example, saying “I’m going to be healthier in 2012” is not a measurable goal. Saying “I will lose 10 pounds by a certain date” or “I will run a half marathon in under 2 hours” are specific measurable goals. You will know for sure if you do them or not, and when.
Setting spiritual goals is a bit trickier. How do you measure something so abstract? My thought process at the end of this year has brought me to this. Many times in my life I have set goals for “taking” – earning more money, getting more stuff, etc. This year I’m setting measurable goals for giving … donating time and money that will help improve the lives of others. I will only make the fundraising goals public. The rest I will do for their own sake.
As you think about your resolutions or goals for 2012, I challenge you to reserve some space for giving too. If you are unable to give money, give your time. Every little gift adds up… and that’s why we should bother.