Goals – the long and short of it

“We have trained them [men] to think of the Future as a promised land

which favoured heroes attain–not as something which everyone reaches

at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”

C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters

January 1, 2007. Wow! I’m not one who stays up past midnight on New Year’s Eve to welcome in the new year. However, I do wake up very early on New Year’s day and spend a little time pondering what I would like to accomplish in the next twelve months. Rather than making resolutions, I write down my short- and long-term goals, along with any thoughts I may have on how to best achieve them.

One of my goals for this year is to carve out the time to exercise. It’s absolutely awful! I used to run 3-5 miles a day about three or four days a week. However, my attempts at getting into another routine, such as walking on my treadmill, have been less than successful. I always find something else more urgent in my schedule that demands my immediate attention. No more! This year an exercise routine is at the top of my goal list.

Goals can become great assets if they’re approached the right way. Here are a few tips I have gleaned over the years that make goal-keeping a reality:

1. Write your goals down and /or share them with an accountability partner (someone who will offer you encouragement when needed).

2. Break long-term goals down into short-term goals. My long-term goal is to have a consistent exercise program. I’m sure there are millions of people who say the same thing every January. However, I need concrete steps to take in order to reach that goal. That’s where short-term goals come into play. Example: Walk on treadmill 4 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) for twenty minutes for the month of January.

3. As you reach one short-term goal, add another to the list. After I reach my exercise goal for January, I will add a new short-term goal for the month of February, probably upping my treadmill time to twenty-five minutes per day, and so on. By the end of 2007, I will be able to look at my list and see that I reached my long-term exercise goal, all by taking small steps (short-term goals) one after the other.

4. Don’t over do it. Set a few reachable goals and then let success propel you forward into making a few more. Over time, goals will become a way of life for you, and you’ll be amazed at what you have accomplished.

As Screwtape wrote to his nephew Wormwood, we all reach the future “at the rate of sixty minutes an hour,” but how we spend those sixty minutes will have an impact on how that future unfolds. So go for it in 2007!

Wishing you a joy-filled and prosperous New Year.

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