This is the first part of a new 6 part post series on how to set, achieve, and exceed your goals for 2011. If you want to read a primer on this series, READ THIS.

Part 1: What Do You Want?

This maybe a harder question than you think. Most of you already have an answer and that isn’t a bad thing. But think about what it is you just blurted out and really ask yourself if what you said really is what you really want to do and if it is specific enough. You basically want to think of what you want, then funnel it down to get a specific, attainable goal. Saying the first thing that comes to mind, or choosing a goal you have attempted in the past probably isn’t a best idea. If you keep doing what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.

So the first thing you can do is think about something broad that you want. Maybe it has to do with your health. Or your financial situation. Or something for your own personal development. Or maybe a business goal. Whatever it is, get an idea of what you want to do. I am doing this exercise as well. My goal is a financial goal.

Start Getting More Precise

Once you have a broad sense of what you want, start breaking it down. If your goal has to do with health, break it down farther to lose weight, or be more active, or complete a marathon. If you have a financial goal, maybe it is to make more money, or save more money, or to purchase a house. With personal development, maybe you can go back to school, or learn a new hobby. For business goals, maybe it is to increase your business sales, or open another facility, or improve customer service. For my financial goal, it is to save money in the upcoming year.

The 3rd part of this exercise is to get even more specific in what you want. This is where you get that actually number you want to hit. That point when you hit it, you know you achieved the goal you wanted. Think big on this one. There is something called the Self Fulfilling Prophecy that is in effect everyday in our life. It basically states that if you think you are something, you are that thing. If you think you can only lose 10 pounds, odds are you will only lose 10 pounds. If you think you are a C student, you are probably a C student. People that know they are successful are successful. So think BIG on this one. Push yourself to your farthest limits with your goal, but be realistic. For me personally, I want to save a TON of money, but it just isn’t realistic for me to say to save a million dollars. Although it would be nice, I just don’t make enough money to save that much (plus if I did make that much, I would probably be spending it on travel : ) ).  But I want to pick a number that will push me, but can be obtainable. I am choosing to try to save $10,000 in the next year. And when I say save, I am talking pure extra money sitting in a bank account that can be used as an “emergency” fund should something ever happens and I have to pay my mortgage and car payments and feed my family. This goal for me isn’t a walk in the park, but can be done with planning and dedication, which we will discuss in the future postings.

Keep this in mind when setting your goals: if you don’t hit your goals, did you fail? NO. There is no such thing as failures, only results. If you wanted to lose 100 pounds and you only lost 75, did you fail? No. That is still very good. You need to make adjustments and you will hit your goal. If I only save 5k this year, did I fail? No, I need to figure out where I went short, adjust my plan and keep pushing to my goal. So push yourself when setting your goal. You WILL get there. I will help.

Another reason to push yourself is a sense of accomplishment. Sure, you can set your sights low and be happy when you hit your goal. Big deal. Where is the satisfaction? What if you sense your sights beyond what you think you can do and get it? How elated would you feel then? How much power would you hold in your hand to basically set your mind to anything you want and get it accomplished? What will stop you? NOTHING. Setting your goal low and cruising through life won’t get you there. Trust me. Push yourself, think beyond your limits and you will find the power that you have hiding inside of you. It’s there. We are going to bring it out.

When you figure out what you want, make sure you instill it in your brain what it is. Print it out and put in a place you will see it everyday. Tell all your friends. Get your friends to make similar goals. Post it on facebook. Do whatever you have to do to get this goal in your brain so it is locked in there.

If you need help pinpointing your goal, feel free to email me at info(at)nintemanfitness.com and I can steer you in the right direction in your goal setting. Let me know what you have so far and we can fine tune it. On the next post, I will help you lay the groundwork for how you will get to your goal. For now, just make sure you have a specific, attainable, big goal that you want to accomplish in the next year.

To your health (and prosperity!)

~Z