Resolved to set goals

Good morning, friends.  How is your new year going?  I've been a little slow, maybe a little low key, when it comes to talking about New Year's Resolutions.  I personally don't make resolutions. I've always felt that if there is something in my life that needs changing, the change should happen at that moment, not wait for the new year.  With that said, I do like to make goals for myself and my family.  There is a difference between goals and resolutions.  Resolutions state a desire to do something or change something in our lives, like the ever popular- I will loose weight this year.  A goal states how I will get to a desired change, like I will walk 3 times a week for 45 minutes in order to loose weight.

New Year's Resolution Statistics

 I know for Lewisville, we want to be financially fit this year; that includes saving, tithing, and paying off those last few bills!  We want to go on a Disney World vacation, but we also need to get a new(er) car to replace the one that keeps breaking down.  Personally, I want to get my entire house organized- everything- laundry room, pantry, and the ever dreaded....garage!  I also want to decorate and transform my master bedroom, son's room, and the girls' bedroom.  I want to spend more time laughing and smiling with my kids.  I've recognized I've been in strict mom mode- "do this, don't do that, get your chores done, finish school."  I don't want to abandon any discipline, but I want to have fun with my kids too.  And then there's my marriage, which I am so incredibly grateful for the blessing that it is.  My husband works really long hours, and we rarely get an opportunity to go out...alone, uninterrupted, etc.  So I'd like to spend more time with Mr. Lewisville...alone, uninterrupted, etc. 

So you see, I have lots of resolutions I've thought about doing this year, but none of them will come to fruition if I don't sit down and write out a clear, solid, and achievable plan to follow in order to arrive at my goal.  I must be S.M.A.R.T. about my goal setting  in order to see each one fully develop this year.  Have your heard of this S.M.A.R.T method of goal setting?  It's smart alright, and when it come to goal setting, I need to be S.M.A.R.T.  Here's what that means.

Specific- Be specific about your goal.  General goals say I want to loose weight.  Specific says I will loose 10 pounds by eating healthier and/or join a gym.  Remember those "W" questions from grade school.  Apply it here.  Who, what, when, where, why?  Will it cost money? Should I join a gym?  When can I go to the gym? What are some healthy recipes I can make? Where do I find them?

Measurable-  You need to set a standard for measuring progress toward your goal.  Set target dates, smaller target goals, and stay on track with pit stops along the way.  Answer questions like how many? how much?  How will I know when I've accomplished my goal.  So lets say financial fitness is your goal.  That's a big goal, so be specific like I want to establish an emergency fund.  Now measure it with an amount and time table.  I want $1000 in my emergency fund by March 1st.  Now I've measured a specific goal and I know when it is met.

Achievable-  This means your goal is attainable given your resources.  In this step, you figure out ways to meet each goal.  When you start thinking of meeting your goal, then you clearly see opportunities that pop up to help achieve the goal.  So if your goal is to get more organized in 2013, be specific, like I need to organize my master bathroom in  measurable  progress, like organize under the sink then organize the vanity.  Now when you're out shopping, you see some great sales on baskets and bins and realize those items will help nicely to attain an organized bathroom.

Realistic- This can be tricky, but your goal can't be to high or to low.  When it's to low, you're not motivated to do it because it can be attained at any time, so it rarely gets done.  When it's to high,  
and really beyond reach, then we loose interest quickly.  If your goal is to plan a secret getaway for you and hubby, (sounds good doesn't it?) then be specific- a mountain resort, measurable-Valentines weekend or just one night at a plush hotel? $300 budget, Achievable-get prices, find deals, ask friends, and be realistic- mountain resorts are in the middle of ski season mid February and the only deals I find start above my budget.  Move to a city plush hotel and theater seats?  By the way, we tend to succeed at attaining higher goals than lower ones.

Timely- A smart goal is measured by a time table.  Set up a date that you want to have the goal accomplished.  If it's a large goal, set up pit stop dates.  So if I know I need to buy a car this year, I'll start with being Specific- buy a used car without payments.  Measurable-under $10,000; set aside "car payment" in separate account. Achievable- research, research, research, use Kelly blue book, craigslist, make a car choice.  Realistic- Can we save for this and a Disney vacation?  Timely-  purchase in 12 -15months?

There's a lot on my plate these days.  As a mom of 3, including a teen as of today (Lord, help me!), home school mom, wife, ministry leader, blogger, and so on and so forth...I'm just a tad busy.  The bible tells me to walk circumspectly, not as fools bust as wise, redeeming the time (Ephesians 5:15). So that's what I try to do these days.  Circumspectly?  Think of a huge circle and you are in the very center of that circle, but on the circumference of that circle are points that demand your attention.  Each point has a title like Family, Work, Ministry, Finances, Blogging...etc. You fill in the blanks (or points I should say).  We walk the circumference of the circle (circumspectly) and deal with each of these points "wisely".  So taking the time to plan out how to achieve my goals this year, is part of me walking wisely.  Every day, I go back to the center of that circle, spending time with the Lord first, before conquering that walk of life.

Hope you all found something to help you plan and set your goals this year!  Be SMART and be wise as you walk circumspectly!