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Wellness Article

Life is best when lived with joy, hope and optimism

"With new possibilities come opportunities. And within these opportunities are courageous goals."
By Michelle MacIntosh
Life is best when lived with joy, hope and optimism

Back in September’s issue I wrote about goal setting. I talked about my modified version of S.M.A.R.T. goals—Simple, Manageable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. I think this is a great model for anyone learning to set goals, and for goals that are run of the mill—I want to loose 5lbs. by May 1, 2011. I want to quit smoking by March 1, 2011.

This article is for people looking for more—people who want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, do a triathlon, start their own business or find their passion. People who know that life is best when lived with joy, hope and optimism. These goals aren’t “smart” by any definition. In fact, while most would say these are pie-eyed dreamers, I call them the courageous people! So, this article is about courageous goal-setting.

To set a courageous goal, the first thing you need to do is banish fear. Fear will give you a reason to stay firmly planted on the couch every day of the week. We will never get rid of fear, but we need to learn how to banish it when it shows up. Fear needs to be managed, and courage needs to prevail.

Minimizing fear starts with understanding what you are afraid of. In goal setting, there tends to be two main categories of fear—fear of success and fear of failure. Both come at the same price but from different motivations. I often find that people are more afraid of succeeding than failing, but it is up to you to understand what is the worst option for you and to start to create antidotes for the source of your fear. This step has to come first or there is no need to set any type of goal because you won’t be able to make it happen.

Once you understand your fear, you can start to create courageous goals. The key component in a courageous goal is imagination. And for many of us adults, we need to rekindle our imagination and empower it to help us create new dreams and goals.

The first step in rekindling your imagination is to find it, and to find, it you need to be comfortable being alone. Take time to unplug from technology, sit quietly with yourself and be alone. Sounds scary to a lot of people. First, drive your car with no phone, music or audio book. Then, maybe once in a while, have your morning coffee before anyone wakes up and spend some time just dreaming and seeing what you want. Then, in the moments of silence, your brain can let go and daydream and create—then poof!—you have your imagination back!

When you are able to imagine, you can begin to create your courageous goal. You can make a vision board with pictures of places you want to go, feelings you want to create and dreams for your business and life. Next, look for patterns. Your journal can go from being a place of complaints to a place of dreams and hopes which you can use to imagine a new possibility for your life.

With new possibilities come opportunities. And within these opportunities are courageous goals. Once you have a courageous goal—say, to do a triathlon this summer—then you can be real. Figure out how to train, do research and look for help. And while you plan your courageous goal, your life will come alive and feel so energizing that it will inspire your imagination to start again and again and again!

To have a front row seat to Michelle’s Courageous Goal Setting for 2011, check out her blog at www.mygreenkoolaid.com

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