Three Steps to Help You Goal Set and Grow

As the new year approaches, I am all ready to begin setting my intentions, cutting out pictures for my vision board and making my list of new goals. But let me tell you why I am not starting there for 2019.

First, I have to acknowledge that I am a list maker and a goal setter through and through. I am one of those people who always has the next thing in mind. In the past, as soon as I’d meet a goal I’d be off and racing to the next thing. No grass grew under my feet. I chalked it up to always looking for ways to expand and grow but recently it occurred to me that growth isn’t just about forward movement. Growth is also about looking back, taking it in and savoring those celebratory moments. It is also about recognizing those times where things didn’t go as planned in a way that allows you to look for the growth in the challenge.  That reflection piece is integral in your ability to move forward.

Another important part of that reflection is your willingness to be open. It is great to have big audacious goals but what about your destiny? Have you ever thought about what you are actually being called to do versus what you think you’re supposed to be doing? If we are wearing horse blinders and only looking forward, we aren’t able to see all of the signs popping up around us that might actually be leading us to where we are meant to go. Taking the time to look back and around us, helps us to reach our true destiny.

When I sit back and think of some of the things I have accomplished recently, I know that there is something greater at work here because I didn’t dream these things. I just set a goal, focused on doing my best work in whatever space I was in and then the next little dream presented itself to me. Instead of looking like a straight trajectory, it started to move in lots of different directions, but there was an amazing unfolding at hand. And those different directions were eerily connected.  I was suddenly on a journey better than I could have planned out on paper. So, in order to keep allowing that to happen, I have begun to approach my goals in a different way. Here are three things I do now to help shape my goals and I’m hoping they’ll help you too.

Celebrate successes– I’ve always had a don’t get too comfortable mentality when it came to my goals. There is always the next thing I’d tell myself. And while that might have something to do with growing up as a military kid and moving every three years, there was something to that mantra. It kept me from becoming complacent but I also realized it didn’t allow me to live in the present the way I should have, or allow me to celebrate the triumphs of my past. Sometimes we get so caught up in where we think we should be that we fail to acknowledge how far we have come. Before you start making your New Years resolutions take the time to make a list of all of your accomplishments this year. Place that list somewhere where you can see it. Let celebrating what you’ve done shape where you are going. That amazing thing you did a few months back might be the off-road that takes you to where you’re supposed to be. Take the time to acknowledge it.

Look for grows-don’t let the record of what’s gone wrong play on repeat in your head. We all make mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up over what went astray this year think of what you can learn from that mistake. Every time something has gone wrong for me-like that time I did poorly on the Law School Admission Test because I didn’t even study and thought that my rational mind would take care of it (a very irrational thought by the way)-it allowed me to reflect. That reflection allowed me to realize that I didn’t even want to go to law school. I was just doing what everyone else wanted for me. I could have just taken the test again, or even worse given up completely. Instead, I paused and reflected. When  I was able to look at my “failure” from a more positive perspective I was able to get real and figure out what I really wanted to do.  Not doing well on that test was one of the best things that happened to me. I chose grad school instead of law school. I love being a school counselor and I met my husband in a school-wide meeting. My failure led me to where I was supposed to be. Reexamine yours and look for the growth opportunity.

And finally, be sure to cheer for others-Don’t play the comparison game. We have no idea what obstacles someone has overcome to get where they are. Never wish to be in someone else’s shoes when you have no idea what path they’ve walked to get there. Instead of comparing yourself to those you perceive as more successful employ another C word. Start connecting! Connecting with others who are doing what you want to do well, not only gives you something to aspire to but it will also illuminate your path. Simply watch, learn and cheer! If you do those three things well it won’t be long before you are walking right along with those people you admire!

So, that’s the plan for approaching the new year. Now of course after I make sure I’m checking all of those boxes I will dive right into my goals and intentions for 2019, but i’ll also continue to allow these three things to be my driving force all year long. I’d love to hear your thoughts and learn more about how you approach reflection and goal setting!


Until Next Post,

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Tonya Parker is a counselor, author and certified life coach who believes in helping women look and feel their best! Ambassador for O, The Oprah Magazine and author of Single Mom Chic

7 thoughts on “Three Steps to Help You Goal Set and Grow

  1. There are several things I love about this post, but my favorite is to look for grows. It’s been a rough couple of years, with a ton of failures. But maybe I can stop letting them contribute to my anxiety and learn from them instead. Like you, I’m always looking to grow and sometimes I need to realize that it’s good to have slower periods (and not always succeed). As you said, being open to opportunities is what’s important. Maybe life was trying to give me the opportunity to slow down for a while, to heal, which is what I have needed. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another beautiful and heartfelt post Tonya! Some of our greatest achievements are those that we don’t set out to do, aren’t they? I’m a deep thinker, so I’m reflecting on a daily basis. Not sure if that’s good or not. I make lists too because I find so much satisfaction in checking the boxes!! I’m going to be setting my goals and making my next vision board too. Thanks for your inspiring words! Stacie xo

    Liked by 1 person

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