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  • Writer's pictureGary Lougher

Day 2: Goals and Building Your Hope Muscle

 It seems safe to say that when we make resolutions or contemplate change, we are hoping for a better future for ourselves and/or others. I define hope as “having inspiring goals, agency, and pathways for creating a better world for myself and those in it”. I intentionally put “myself” first in that definition because I believe that, at the very least, being hopeful directly or indirectly inspires others to do the same. And if your inspiring goal is to help others in a more direct way, that obviously greatly impacts others. And as you can clearly see, both start with us setting inspiring goals.

Hope is one of the big “missings” in this world. That’s why I believe this work is so important.  

When we effectively set inspiring (whatever inspires YOU) goals and work towards them systematically, we are essentially building our HOPE muscle. We are building up our agency (confidence and self-belief), and creating clearer and more direct pathways (processes, routines, habits, skills) that allow us to reach our goal. Then we set other inspiring goals…and act on them now instead of putting them off. Get good at this, and I promise you won’t be able to put off your goals even if you want'll be too excited. :)

So, let's talk about how we make goals. One System is the tried and true SMART System. SMART stands for:

  • Specific: Get really clear on what you're aiming for. Like, "I want to write a blog series titled, “Reinvention, Not Resolutions"". 

  • Measurable: How will you know you've made it? One post per day until the end of January, starting 12/17.

  • Achievable: Your goals have to be something you can actually reach, they can be challenging, but I also encourage you to start with something easy if that feels right for you. Building confidence is key. Yes, I can do it . I had to get really honest with myself. I stated my goal publicly to up my level of commitment…not a requirement but something to consider. I will write 2 days ahead in case something comes up.

  • Relevant: Make sure your goal matters to you and fits with other stuff you're doing. It’s the foundation for a book, helps me gain clarity, something I feel is important to share, and will help grow my business.  

  • Time-bound: Put a deadline on it. End of January....unless I got more to say.  

A few other examples:

  • "In the next three months, I will increase my running endurance to be able to run 5 kilometers without stopping, as part of my goal to enhance my overall physical health, which is important to me”

  • "By the end of six months, I will improve my Spanish language skills to a conversational level by practicing for 30 minutes daily and completing an online language course. This is important to me because I am traveling to Spain”

  • "Within the next year, I aim to save $3,000 for a vacation to visit my parents by setting aside $250 from my monthly income. This is important because I miss them.”

I had the idea for this blog a week ago, and it was something I couldn't not do. I could have easily justified putting it off until New Year's. My point is, I had the confidence I could do it because I work the systems I'll be talking about here. None of these blogs have been pre-written. I'm flying by the seat of my pants and organizing my thoughts as I go. Often, we feel like we need to have all the pieces in place to start, and we don't. I may miss a day...big whoop. And it certainly won't be perfect. The goal isn't set in stone. And as we'll see down the road, we will need to be flexible and we will need to deal with setbacks. These are all important skills for building agency and pathways...for building our HOPE muscle. We often feel we need to do A+ work. This is perfectionism, which leads to procrastination. Trust me, I know all about that. Just Start.

Don't worry about doing A+ work. Your B- work can change your or someone else's life.

Tomorrow, we will talk about systems, routines, and forming habits.


Start thinking about what or who you may need to start saying "no" to in order to be able to say "yes" to your goal.


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