It’s a new year, and this month Forward Wayne County is focusing on goals. We asked Carl Rhinehart, the Co-Founder and Director of Future Achievers, to talk about his work in Wayne County and how to set sustainable goals in 2023!

We are now into the new year. Typically, around December 31st, people make plans and set goals for the upcoming year. Lose weight, change jobs, go back to school, or save money are some examples of New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions are things that people plan to do to better themselves or their situation. Sometimes we write our goals down, tell them to a friend, create vision boards, etc. There are many ways to capture your goals. However you capture your goal, the point is to follow through with your plans. That way, you achieve what you set out to do.

Future Achievers has been working with teens and young adults on goal setting through our Life Coaching outreach. We talk about setting goals and following through in an effort to help put participants on a path to success. There are some things I have learned through this work and my personal journey that may help others set and achieve their goals. It’s important to know that there are some fundamental principles that you must understand before you can really start setting goals with the confidence that you will achieve them.

Along with these principles, remember that we are all different. We learn and think differently and are motivated by different things. Because of this, we cannot think that we can achieve success by following someone else’s plan. We have to take information, find our own path, and figure out what works best for us. You can be inspired by others, but you can not do exactly what other have done and expect to reach your goals.

Here are some principles to remember when setting goals:

1. Know what you want

I have talked to teens and adults who have had trouble coming up with a goal when asked. It seemed that they hadn’t taken time to explore themselves or their situation to figure out what they really wanted. It’s easy to run on autopilot through life and forget that you had dreams and thoughts of being great at one time. Think about your life currently. If there is an element that you are unhappy with, then you know it is time to make a change. Set your goals around those things that will make a difference in your life and the lives of others. 

2. Know your why

After you decide what you want, now figure out why you want it. Come up with a “why” statement that will guide your efforts moving forward. Your goal may have you on a life long journey of change, so you will need this to help you stay focused over time. When life throws challenges at you, you may fall back into your old ways, your “why” will give you the motivation to get back on track. Make sure your “why” is not dependent on others or things in life that can change. When people and situations in our life changes, it sometimes causes us to doubt ourselves resulting in us no longer pursuing our goals. 

3. Be willing to do what you normally wouldn’t do, to get the things you want

Recognize what you have done to get you to the place that makes you want to change, then make a drastic change. For me, the change was starting my day at 3:00 am and structuring that time with activities that would help me improve mentally, physically, and spiritually. Depending on your goals, you may have to walk or take the bus, stop carrying your cell phone around everywhere you go, or delete social media apps, but whatever it is, be willing to make that sacrifice so that you can have what you really desire.

4. Trust the process

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Understand that making change and improving yourself is a process that takes time. In this process you will have successes and setbacks. Successes are great and what we hope for. We try to avoid setbacks but we can learn about a lot about ourselves and the world around us from experiencing challenges. Setbacks can cause us to get discouraged so along the way, don’t forget to celebrate the small victories. Focus more on what you did right rather than what you did wrong.  If you find yourself struggling to know what to do, do what they said in the Disney movie Frozen, “just do the next right thing.”

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