Will You Set Smart Goals for 2013?

We cannot expect to become the directors of our lives if we fail to choose a meaningful direction.

As we approach 2013, we can choose to sit on the sidelines and watch other people score or take charge of our lives by pursuing our goals. Goals are difficult concepts to grasp; many people don’t see themselves as capable of changing, growing, and achieving. They see goals like statues: cast in bronze and placed out of reach.

I suggest viewing goals more like a river that flows from the present moment to a rich land filled with amazing opportunities. Instead of focusing our attention on the two obvious points, the present and future, we need to look at the emerging road between these two points.

Goal setting doesn’t amount to simply creating a narrative about what we want to get out of life or what we want to give back. We need to decide on the quality of our journey. We need to choose a road that challenges our capabilities and our will.

Sometimes people attach so much meaning to their distant goals that they obsess about them while ignoring their need to feel good in the here and now. They overrate the value of the trophy and ignore the meaning of the trip. They tend to forget that success is not a vague destination that resides only in our imagination but a journey into a forever-expanding and precious present. If we can’t expand our awareness to match the richness of the here and now, we’ll never get a chance to claim the fortune we imagine in the distant future.

To become the director of our own life, we need to…

know who we are and take inventory of our talents,

know where we are and scope out our future,

and decide on our goal and the quality of our journey.

One more important thing to remember is not to be influenced by the noise on the sidelines, such as talk about the “fiscal cliff,” the “European debt crisis,” or the “growing economic uncertainty.” Pessimism is misuse of the imagination. Think of the two words “smart goal” as acronyms with two meanings. The logical meaning is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. The emotional meaning is GOAL : Guts, Optimism, Attitude, and Loyalty.

With a little effort, we can shape our future in the image of our goals. But without a set direction for 2013, we won’t be able to direct our lives, and we’ll continue to repeat what we know hasn’t worked for us in the past. Take a moment now to write down your number one goal for 2013. Carpe diemleads to Veni, vidi, vici.