Annies Home Journal

Annies Home Journal contains information and articles, about working from home, as well as business opportunities, and what it takes to make a home based business work.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Dreams vs. Goals

First let me say that dreaming is critical to goal setting because dreams are the foundation that goals are built on. Dreams are what keep you going when the going gets tough. They give you hope and give you a hint into the future that you can create for yourself.

But, dreams ARE NOT goals. Dreams are passive. Anyone can do it, and without moving a muscle. Goals on the other hand are active. They require action, and they require effort. Goals require you to take initiative and
do something.

Let's look at what goals aren't now. They aren't wishes. They aren't something you say and then walk away, waiting for someone else to do the work. Goals require active involvment and some work. Goals aren't vague or unattainable. They aren't impossible. They aren't random or magic or mysterious.

Plain and simply, a goal is something very specific that you can identify, you desire to achieve, you plan to achieve, and you put forth the effort to achieve.

Not New Year’s Resolutions

Some people also confuse New Year’s resolutions with goals. New Year’s resolutions are seldom goals—they’re more apt to be wishes. Typically, people set New Year’s resolutions because it is the popular thing to do at a particular time of year. They don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what they really want to achieve in life, and most resolutions focus merely on eradicating some aspect of their life they don’t like all that much—not on building a positive result. Furthermore, resolutions are flimsily worded, too generic or vague, and they don’t involve a wholehearted commitment on the part of the people making them.

It’s not surprising then, that most New Year’s resolutions are broken before the month of January is through.

Goals, on the other hand, require concentrated thought, have a specific objective, should be worded positively, and require a commitment. Goals are the stepping-stones that lead you to the life of your dreams.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

I hope everyone had a terrifc Thanksgiving. I sure did, although, as usual, I ate way to much. It was great to be able to spend time with my family and friends and give thanks for what we have. After all, this is what it's all about.

Starting next week, I am going to talk about fine-tuning your goals and taking action. The first part is going to be Dreams vs. Goals. What is the difference?

Until then......

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Closer Look

OK. We now know what S.M.A.R.T. Goals are. Let's take a closer look at each of the components.

Specific: Goals are no place to waffle. They are no place to be vague. Ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results. Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures.

When we are specific, we harness the power of our dreams and set forces into action that empower us to achieve our goals. We then know exactly what it is we are shooting for. There is no question. As we establish our priorities and manage our time, we do so for a specific goal to achieve the results we expect. There is no wondering or guessing. The future is locked into our minds and we see it – specifically – and that is powerful! Never underestimate just how important it is to have very specific, concrete goals. They act as magnets that draw you toward them! A S.M.A.R.T. goal is specific.

Measurable: Always set goals that are measurable. I would say “specifically measurable” to take into account our principle of being specific as well. Our goals should be such that we know when we are advancing and by how much. Whether it is by hours, pounds, dollars or whatever, we should be able to see exactly how we are measuring up as we proceed through the journey of life using our goals. Could you imagine if you didn’t measure your goals? You would never know which way you were going or even if you were going anywhere! A S.M.A.R.T. goal is measurable.

Attainable: One of the detrimental things that many people do – and they do it with good intentions – is to set goals that are so high they are unattainable. Yes, it is very important to set big goals that cause your heart to soar with excitement, but it is also imperative to make sure that they are attainable. In the next section we talk about being realistic. So what does it mean to be attainable? An attainable goal is one that is both realistic but also attainable in a shorter period of time than what you have to work with. Now when I say attainable, I don't mean easy. Our goals should be set so they are just out of our reach; so they will challenge us to grow as we reach forward to achieve them. After the next paragraph, I will give you an example of a goal that is both attainable and realistic. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is attainable.

Realistic: The root word of realistic is “real.” A goal has to be something that we can reasonably make “real” or a “reality” in our lives. There are some goals that simply are not realistic. You have to be able to say, even if it is a tremendously stretching goal, that yes, indeed, it is entirely realistic -- that you could make it. You may even have to say that it will take x, y, and z to do it, but if those happen, then it can be done. This is in no way to say it shouldn’t be a big goal, but it must be realistic. This is to a great degree, up to the individual. For one person a goal may be realistic, but for another unrealistic. I would encourage you to be very honest with yourself as you do your planning and evaluation. Perhaps it would be good to get a friend to help you (as long as that friend is by nature an optimist and not a pessimist). This can go a long way toward helping you know what is realistic. A S.M.A.R.T. goal is realistic.

Example of Attainable and Realistic: Knowing that perhaps you could use a bit of help differentiating attainable and realistic, here is an example: You are overweight and have 150 pounds to lose to get to your proper weight. Is that goal attainable? Yes, considering that you also make it realistic. For example, it isn’t realistic to think you can do it in 5 months. 18-24 months would be realistic (with hard work). Thus, losing 150 pounds in 2 years is both attainable and realistic, while losing 150 pounds in 5 months is neither attainable nor realistic.

Time: Every goal should have a timeframe attached to it. I think that life itself is much more productive for us as humans because there is a timeframe connected to it. Could you imagine how much procrastination there would be on earth if people never died? We would never get “around to it.” We could always put it off. One of the powerful aspects of a great goal is that it has an end, a time in which you are shooting to accomplish it. You start working on it because you know there is an end. As time goes by you work because you don’t want to get behind. As it approaches, you work diligently because you want to meet the deadline. You may even have to break down a big goal into different measured parts time frames. That is okay. Set smaller goals and work them out in their own time. A S.M.A.R.T. goal has a timeline.

Be sure to spend some reflection time this week to make sure your goals fit the S.M.A.R.T. parameters.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

S.MA.R.T. Goals

Okay, now we are going to talk about S.M.A.R.T. Goals. We have already introduced previously the 4 main components of Goal-Setting. S.M.A.R.T. goals is the third component. What does S.M.A.R.T. goals mean. I'll tell you. It means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive. Let's break each of these on down:
Specific: Don't be vague, Ask yourself, exactly what do I want?
Measurable: Quantify your goal. How will you know if you've achieved it or not?
Attainable: Be honest with yourself about what you can reasonably accomplish at this point in your life - along with taking into consideration your current responsibilities.
Realistic: It's got to be do-able, real and practical.
Time: Associate a timeframe with each goal. When should you complete the goal?

Take time to ask yourself these questions. Jot down your answers. You will be well on your way to setting your goals.

"A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline."
- Harvey Mackay

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"If you want to reach a goal, you must see the reaching in your own mind before you actually arrive at your goal."
-Zig Ziglar

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dreams and Goals

One of the amazing things we have been given as humans is the unquenchable desire to have dreams of a better life. But even better than just the gift of dreaming, we have the ability to establish goals to live out those dreams. We have also been given the ability to take action and pursue those dreams and not only to pursue them, but to possess the cognitive ability to actually lay out a plan and strategies (setting goals)to achieve those dreams. Powerful!

So how do we know what our dreams are? This is an interesting process and it relates primarily to the art of listening. This is not listening to others; it is listening to yourself. If we listen to others, we hear their plans and dreams (and many will try to put their plans and dreams on us). If we listen to others, we can never be fulfilled. We will only chase elusive dreams that are not rooted deep within us. No, we must listen to our own hearts to hear the dreams born out of the passions and desires we each uniquely possess.

Here are some practical steps/thoughts on hearing from our hearts on what our dreams are:

Take time to be quiet. This is something that we don’t do enough in this busy world of ours. We rush, rush, rush and we are constantly listening to noise all around us. We must not get faked out by just being busy.

Think about what really thrills you. When you are quiet, think about those things that really get your blood moving. What would you love to do, either for fun or for a living? What would you love to accomplish? What would you try if you were guaranteed to succeed?

Write down all of your dreams as you have them. Don’t think of any as too outlandish or foolish – remember, you’re dreaming!

Now look at your list and prioritize those dreams. Which are most important? Which are most feasible? Which would you love to do the most? Put them in the order in which you will actually try to attain them.

Now here is the big picture. Life is too short to not pursue your dreams. Someday your life will near its end and all you will be able to do is look backwards. You can reflect with joy or regret. And we all know that joy (or disciplines) weigh ounces while regret weighs tons. Those who dream, who set goals and act on them to live out their dreams are those who live lives of joy and have a sense of peace when they near the end of their lives. They have finished well and for that they possess a sense of pride and accomplishment, not only for themselves but also for their families. And that feeling is priceless.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Goal Setting: Evaluation & Reflection

In order to know where we are going, we have to know where we came from and where we are. It is also knowing how well we have achieved the things we previously set our sights on. This is the core of evaluation and reflection.

This process is pretty simple. First find a quiet place. Reflection is best done away from distraction. It gives your mind the space to think. Next, take regular times to reflect, whether it be weekly, monthly, etc. Then, look at what you have accomplished and where you are. Be specific, honest and truthful! Write it down. Keep a record. This gives you the chance at the next stage of evaluation to see exactly where you were last time. Keep this as objective as possible. Finally, look forward and set your nest goal. Stretch yourself according to what works for you.

This is a good example of evaluation and reflection. Be sure to follow the general idea and set aside time for your own.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

"All things are created twice. There's a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things. You have to make sure that the blueprint, the first creation, is really what you want (your dreams), that you've thought everything through. Then you put it into bricks and mortar (goals). Each day you go to the construction and pull out the blueprint (dream list) to get marching orders for the day. You begin with the end in mind."

- Stephen Covey

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Now we are going to start getting into some of the aspects of goal setting. There are four main areas I want to emphasize.
1. Evaluation & Reflection - The only way we can decide what we want in the future is to first know where we are right now, and what our level of satisfaction is for where we are in our lives.
2. Dreams & Goals - What are your dreams & goals? Have you ever REALLY sat down nd thought through your life's values and decided what you REALLY want? These are dreams and goals that are born out of your own heart and mind, not what someone else says our dreams and goals should be.
3. S.M.A.R.T. Goals - S.M.A.R.T. means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-sensitive.
Specific: Don't be vague. Measurable: Quantify your goal. Attainable: What can you reasonably accomplish at this point in your life? Remember, you have to take into account your current responsibilities. Realistic: It's got to be doable, real and practical.Time:There has to be a timeframe associated with achieving your goals.
4. Accountability - Think of the word "accountable." When someone knows what your goals are, they help hold you accountable.

So, Evaluate/Reflect, Decide What You Want, Be S.M.A.R.T. and have Accountability. When you combine these 4, you put yourself in a position of power that will catapult you toward achieving your goals and the kind of life you desire.

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