January is the official time for looking at your life and setting resolutions or goals to make this year better. We do it every year, and every year those resolutions end up being given up or forgotten almost as quickly as they were made. The problem isn’t that you aren’t able to keep resolutions, you have made more in your life than you realize, but that you don’t know how to set up a plan to follow-through and stay on track.

Many people ask why they should even make a goal. “Life is going along all right,” they tell me. I have heard this from people who were depressed, anxious, addicted to drugs or alcohol, on probation or house arrest, their family and partner want nothing to do with them, and they were recently fired from their job and worried that they will soon be homeless. “Goals are the last thing I need to worry about,” they tell me.

So why do you need goals anyway? You aren’t in such a bad situation.

“My life is going along okay. Besides, I might get run over by a truck and die tomorrow. Can you guarantee that I won’t die tomorrow?”

Of course not, but that question is a tactic, or manipulation to go off track, rather than taking responsibility to improve your life. You might die, but then again, you might live to be a hundred, and without goals, what will you have accomplished in your life?

Image that you are on a ship that capsizes. If you can’t see land, you might start swimming, but most likely you’ll only swim in a large circle and get nowhere. Now suppose that you can see a sliver of land in the distance. Reaching that land will now become your goal. You will start swimming towards the land. There is no guarantee that you will make it. You might become exhausted and drown, or a shark may make you it’s dinner, but you’re better off trying to reach the land than staying in the middle of the ocean going nowhere. You might swim for a while and then see another island closer than the first. In that case, you most likely will change your goal and swim for the closer land.

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