RETIREMENT COACHING – DEBBIE DRINKARD GROVUM-Watching my nephew’s face as he watched his bride walk down the aisle at their recent wedding reminded me of one of the reasons I love weddings. I love the hope and promise of new beginnings that weddings symbolize. Being in the midst of young adults as they celebrate a milestone in their adult journeys fills me with the excitement of opportunity. They are at the beginning of their adult lives, making plans and setting goals for the lives they want. Goals are also important for those of us beginning our second adulthood, the time between early adulthood and old age. Second adulthood can be a time of new beginnings and opportunities to pursue dreams, goals and new lifestyles.
Research repeatedly demonstrates the correlation between setting goals and accomplishing our dreams. One popular approach has been to set SMART goals-Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Using this guide is a great place to start, but recent research has identified additional goal-setting strategies.
In Creating Your Best Life, Caroline Adams Miller and Dr. Michaels B. Frisch offer research-based guidance on setting powerful goals.
Challenging: Setting realistic goals may limit our accomplishments. Mediocre goals that are easily attainable do not challenge us to do our best or promote “authentic self-esteem.” Goals that may at first appear unrealistic, may turn out to be attainable when broken down into smaller components.
Feedback: Feedback enhances success. Goals must be measurable so we know if we achieve them. Regularly using the feedback from the measurable part of our goals tells us if we are on track.
Approach/Avoidance: The best goals create a sense of excitement and desire to work on them. We want to approach rather than avoid them. Using positive language and stating what we want to accomplish rather than what we want to avoid helps.
Intrinsic/Extrinsic: Goals we set for ourselves bring greater joy than goals based on what others want us to do. Goals that are based on our values are most likely to be accomplished.
Non-conflicting and Leveraged: Goals that conflict with each other prevent both from being accomplished. When goals support each other, accomplishment in one area leads to accomplishment in others.
Written: Researchers agree that written goals have a better chance of being accomplished than un-written ones. Posting goals where they will be visible each day increases their chance of being accomplished.
Research repeatedly demonstrates the importance of setting and achieving goals to living a happy and fulfilling life. Attaining goals in one area of life “spills over” into feelings of accomplishment in other areas of life as well. Second adulthood is a second chance to intentionally live our lives, identifying and pursuing our dreams.
- Think of one dream that you now have time to pursue.
- Write down a goal that will accomplish your dream. Include when and how you will accomplish it.
- Is your goal stated positively? Is it something you want to move toward?
- How challenging is your goal?
- List the steps you need to take to accomplish this goal.
- How will you get regular feedback to know that you are on track?
- How does accomplishing this goal support other goals in your life?
- What can you do this week to get started?
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”