Happy New Year!
The other day I posted the best book covers of 2013. The artists and designers who create book jackets deserve recognition for the outstanding job they do. Whether we realize it or not, the cover is often responsible for drawing us in.
Kicking off 2014, I am thinking about the goals I have for the year. The book covers offer a metaphor for our goal-setting process.
Glancing at a book cover, we judge the content and the author. When strangers look at us, like it or not, they often judge us in the same way. They take a look, and judge on our appearance. Unfortunately, this is common before anyone even understands our story.
MOST NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOCUS ON THE COVER
Is your goal this year to lose weight? Stay on that diet? Exercise more? Eat healthier? Like a book cover, we often focus on how the world sees us by focusing on our physical appearance. We don’t stop there. We also think about our reputation. Reputation defender services now help combat unwanted or unfair reviews online.
I can hear some of you saying, “Wait. Skip, it’s the inside that matters!” Some of you may be thinking about the verse in Samuel: “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
I love what Jim Rohn said about that thought. He said, “Work on the outside for people. Work on the inside for God.”
NEW YEAR GOALS
If your life was a book, you would want the cover to be an award winner, and you would want the narrative to be superbly written. Design your goals the same way.
Keep your external goals. Losing weight may be just what you need. Regular exercise may just save your life. Eating more vegetables is always a good idea. But make sure to add internal goals to your list.
1. Divide your goals into two lists: the cover and the story.
A COVER goal is anything that is visible. This list could include such things as quitting smoking, getting a better job or obtaining your ideal weight. Anything that is seen by other people and the outside world goes in this column.
A STORY goal is what’s on the inside and goes into the second column. Do you want to be a better friend? How about being less critical and more positive? What are your spiritual goals?
2. Execution is always the key to achieving a goal.
That’s why the story goals tend to be harder to achieve. It’s easier to say my goal is to go to the gym three times a week, but how can I measure whether I am encouraging to others, more positive, grateful, and positive? For these types of goals, write down in the third column the activity you will engage in to further the goal. For instance, if I want to be more thankful, maybe I get a stack of thank you cards and determine to write one a week. If I want to remember more birthdays, maybe I put reminders in my calendar. Think of tangible activities to help you develop the characteristic you are seeking.
3. Write down WHY the goal is important to achieve.
In the final column, write down why you want to achieve the goal. When I review my list of goals, the ones that always succeed are the ones with the clearest answers in this column. It may not seem like it, but to me, this is the most important part of the entire process. There’s an old saying if the “why” is big enough, the “how” is automatic. There’s a lot of truth to that.
Setting goals is something that I do every year. It’s a wonderful opportunity to start fresh and determine what you want out of the year. This year, my goal is to fill up the story goal side of the equation and deliberately cultivate the qualities I want to achieve. After all, a few pounds gained or lost is temporary, but if I can make a difference in someone’s life, that is permanent.
Here’s to your success in achieving your goals. Remember Lao Tzu’s quote, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”