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Day 19 Behavior Exchange Challenge ~ Lacking Goals

Day 19 Behavior Exchange Challenge ~ Lacking Goals

Bad Habit #19 ~ Lacking Goals

MourningStudies have shown that people with depression make more generalized goals in their lives, but the question that remains is whether the depression came first, or was triggered by the lack of setting and achieving goals.

Christopher Bergland in his article Generalized Goals Linked to Depression, cites a new study conducted by Dr. Joann Dickson. Bergland explains,

“Setting specific goals and realizing them triggers an electro-chemical chain reaction in your brain that makes you feel rewarded which stimulates happiness, motivation, and self-esteem.”

Without goals, our focus drifts, and with goals that are too generalized, we have no path to follow to achieve those goals. It is one thing to say you want “To be more Happy,” but what is the path you will follow to achieve that happiness?

Lacking goals – or the motivation to set goals – can stem from no belief in yourself, dinged self-esteem, fear of failure, goals with no clear-cut path to achieve them, or goals that were unrealistic. Most critical, is the ability to set smaller goals to reach on the way to your final goal.

If you are lacking goals in your life, or are having difficulty setting goals, start small. Don’t set yourself up for failure by saying you’ll run the Chicago Marathon if you’ve never been a runner. Set a smaller, achievable, goal – like walking in the next 5K near your home – and feel the thrill of achieving this goal. Then maybe you’re next goal will be running in a 5K, with an end goal down the line being the Chicago Marathon.

We need to set goals to stay sharp, have something to strive for, and boost our self-confidence when we achieve our goals. Are you making the most of your life? Could you be happier? Are your lack of goals dragging you down? If so, it’s time to exchange your lack of goals for healthier behavior.

Lee AldrichLee’s Challenge:

Nope…this isn’t me. I have a running list of goals I’m trying to achieve. What is critical for me it to have many smaller mini-goals along the way.One of my long-term goals is I would like to do a 185 mile bike ride through the Rockies next summer that will raise money for a children’s charity. I’ve started training by setting smaller goals of getting into better shape which includes cardio – and that’s HARD here in the mountains where the oxygen level is MUCH lower – and building up muscle groups that will help with a long, sustained ride.

I love lists, so short-term and long-term goals are right up my alley.


Barbara JoyBarbara’s Challenge:

I’m all about the goals!  Here’s where I fell down on this particular bad habit.  My career depended on making and meeting goals.  I was good at it.  Until I quit working, I never had any goals for myself personally.  Sure, I wanted to run farther (faster wasn’t important to me), but long term goals to lead me to developing short term goals for myself.  Nope.  And I’m a planner!  I NEED a plan to be happy.  You’d think this would be a no brainer for me.

My new resolution is to spend my quiet hours in the morning making and revising the goals I need to make in my life.  July has been an extraordinary month in terms of planning….personal planning and it’s really made me see the value.  Goals!  Their just not for work any more.

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  1. Sue Shoemaker

    26 July

    GOALS…the word sounds like work. As a middle school counselor, I would ask our students to keep a list each year of “short term goals” and “long term goals” on their EDP (Educational/Employability Develpoment Plan)…which we would “revisit” several times during the school year. The “short term” meant what they hoped to achieve within the current school year and the “long term” meant what they hoped to accomplish in the next ten years. Then I explained that a short term goal could be as simple and fun as trying out for basketball or as complex as raising one’s GPA. In the case of long term goals, I would ask them to consider their “dreams”…things that may seem “off the wall” and perhaps even impossible today…along with the typical…get a driver’s license…graduate from high school…go to college. I would ask them to get specific…which college…what kind of car…what specific countries do you wish to visit…where would you like to live?

    As for me…I have GOALS…but at this point in my life I don’t see them as work. Rather than call them GOALS, I prefer the euphemism: SOMETHING(s) TO LOOK FORWARD TO.

    • Barbara Coleman

      26 July

      Sue, the inspiration you provide to your students amazes me. I don’t often get this felling anymore, but I wish I had someone like you in my life when I was in my formative years…it took a lot of years to be able to think that way…I’m so glad you add your thoughts here!

      • Sue Shoemaker

        26 July

        Thanks for your kind remarks, Barbara!

        It was such a pleasure to teach the “Guidance” portion of my Guidance Counselor position. I believed that it was my job to teach all of our 7th and 8th graders “the ropes” before they headed off to high school. In 7th grade I taught them what a GPA is and how to figure their own. They learned about class rank, and it was exciting for some of them to realize that even if their GPA and rank was a mess in middle school…they got a brand new fresh start in 9th grade. They took a state test each year and I would teach them how to read their own results and how to interpret their scores. When I shared the “range of scores”…some of them found out that if they had answered one or two more questions correctly they would reach the next level. This seemed to inspire several of them to try a little bit harder the next year.

        Besides generating goals, I had them write down the grades they earned each semester. There is something about taking a pencil and going through the process of placing a grade that you have earned on paper. It helped them become more conscious of how they were actually doing and they were more likely to “own” their grades.

        I retired in 2010, and sad to say there is no middle school counselor today due to budget cuts.

    • Lee Aldrich

      29 July

      Sue – I agree with your view of goals. It IS something to look forward to….especially the self-satisfaction of the achievement of completing the task at hand. For myself, without goals I’d drift like a rudderless boat. It’s much easier to have a direction. Thank you for sharing your counselors’s Goal Planning story, too!

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