I can't stress enough how much of a difference it can make in your life to set goals for yourself. And not *just* setting goals, but writing them down. It's easy to simply engage in the daily tasks at hand and by the end of the day still feel frustrated because you don't feel like you made any progress on the things you want to accomplish in our finite time on earth.

Something about writing them down seems to help solidify them in our mind, which then translates more easily into tangible steps you can take. However small the steps, the forward progress is invigorating and helps you gain a sense of momentum--which makes you want to keep going.

OK, that's all well and good, but if you've net set goals in a long time, you may have forgotten the best way to do that. Here's a few strategies I use:

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Before you do anything, take out a sheet of paper and just brainstorm for awhile. Think about what goals you want to set in various areas of your life--whether spiritual, social, recreational, financial, artistic--whatever. Don't add a bunch of detail at this point--that comes later. Once you've made a list, set which area is the highest priority for you and then continue to prioritize the rest, in order.

OK, now focus on identifying your goal. Take the one that is most important to you and write out the goal in "positive terms." That means instead of writing "I want to lose weight," write "I have lost 23 pounds, have toned my muscle, and feel great," or whatever. Here is where you'll want to add detail--the less vague, the better.

Now, ask some questions in regard to your goal. Think of these questions as a test. Make sure this goal is YOURS and not what someone else wants for you. Make sure you ask if the goal is big enough. If you're not sure you can achieve it, ask yourself why that may be the case.

We do this so that we can find those beliefs we may have that may be subconsciously sabotaging what would be an important achievement. It's also a good idea to remember how you feel in the future if this goal isn't achieved--would you feel regret or would it not make a huge difference to you. Once you've analyzed it this way, you can know for sure if this goal is worth your sincere effort or not.

Set a specific date for achievement. In fact, write out an exact date. Of course, consider the reality and make sure it's physically achievable first. Obviously, setting a goal to lose 23 pounds by next week is only bound to set you up for disappointment or unhealthy behaviors.

OK, that get's us started. Stay close--PART TWO is coming soon.

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