January is a time when we think of making New Year's Resolutions, but I prefer to set myself goals. Instead of saying what I can't or shouldn't do, I prefer to say what I can or should do!
Are you the sort of person who always has a goal in life? Or are you the sort of person that drifts along aimlessly never getting anywhere?
What is the importance of goal setting?
We set a goal in order to have something in life to aim for. It is vital that we strive to achieve something. If we do not then our very purpose to life seems to be missing.
Some children are lucky they know almost for as long as they can remember what they want to do with their lives. The little girl who wants to be a nurse, the little boy who wants to be a policeman. They may even be so forward thinking that they have their future career prospects all mapped out: the correct subjects to take in school so that they can train towards their future goal. But quite often, most of us get side tracked along the way and lose direction. It happened to me. I was one of those little girls who wanted to be a nurse. I took the correct subjects at school and a pre-nursing test, then trained to be a nurse.
I reached my goal of qualifying to become a State Registered Nurse, as they were called in those days. However, there were not that many jobs to go around at the time and I left the profession rather than work in the X-Ray Department or theatre, as it wasn't the type of nursing experience I wanted. As the years passed I trained in shorthand/typing and had a couple of clerical jobs. Then I had the children and worked in a mother and toddler group and a play group. As the children got older I decided to take a Diploma in Childhood Studies, which was a fairly high level course that could lead into social work or teaching. I was doing very well, and for the first time in my life I think it would have been fair to say that I was top of the class. However, this was at a cost. I became such a perfectionist, striving for distinction level in all my assignments that I burnt myself out. I left half way through the course, unable to return and felt that somehow I had lost my direction and was aimless.
I was mildly depressed for sometime, although I did not require any medication. Then one day I opened up "Woman's Weekly" magazine to see the offer of a "Women's Confidence Day" that was to be held at The Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea. It sounded really good. For the cost of £15.00 I would have the chance to attend lectures held by the well known author and psychotherapist, Gael Lindenfield. It was to be a real pampering day, something to do for myself. I asked my friend if she was interested, which she was and I applied for tickets.
When we arrived we met women from all over the United Kingdom, some had travelled for hours to hear Gael speak. We were greeted with a glass of wine and chatted amongst ourselves. Then we went into the lecture theatre to hear Gael speak.
Gael spoke about the importance of goal setting in our lives and to learn to set ourselves realistic and achievable goals. To think of our goals for the next month, six months time, a year etc. During the lectures we had a break for cream cakes and coffee, then we returned to hear more. We left with a bag of goodies to go home including a copy of one of Gael's books, and I left Swansea feeling inspired.
When I got home I immediately formulated a plan for achieving 3 goals, as Gael had suggested. I thought to myself: Now what would I really like to do with my life?
The 3 things I came up with were:
1. To train as a counsellor.
2. To join a local history group.
3. To make a new friend.
The funny thing was that I had intended to seek out a counselling course the year before at an open day at my local college, but somehow I had got side tracked and before I knew it I had got myself signed up for the Diploma in Childhood Studies, somehow I had veered off course.
I'm glad to say that I eventually achieved all 3 goals. Before training as a counsellor, I had been having nightmares about missing a red double Decker bus. I would run like mad to the bus stop and just as I got there it would drive off. One night I even managed to glimpse who the passengers were. It turned out to be my fellow students on the Diploma in Childhood studies course. As soon as I started on the counselling course, my nightmares stopped. I'm convinced that the bus represented my journey in life and how instead of 'missing the boat', I had missed the bus!
The second and third goals were achieved at the same time. I asked one of the mothers at my children's school, who I knew was interested in history if she would like to come to a local history group with me, this led on to joining a family history group and tracing my family tree back to 1704.
I can honestly say that goal setting has changed my life.
I embarked on a career I enjoyed for many years and have an absorbing hobby: genealogy, and made a new friend and made many more since!
How to set yourself goals
•Start small at first and keep them realistic
•Try writing down your goals for the next month
•Type them up or write them neatly and display somewhere prominent
•Tick them off when you achieve them
•Treat yourself to something as a reward
•Don't be too hard on yourself if things don't work out as expected - you are allowed to change your goals
My goals for 2013 are:
* Write something new every day, preferably working on a novel or at least a post for my blog
* To keep sending my work 'out there' I've completed four novels and am in the process of writing another, so all need good homes!
* Not to be afraid to try a new challenge! We all need shaking out of our comfort zones sometimes!