Personalized Goal-Setting by Karol Ward

When it comes to setting new goals, it's important to remember that "one size does not fit all." While there may be some general strategies we can all benefit from, a more personalized body-mind approach will help you create new goals that aligned with who you are. How do you personalize your goals from this angle? By looking at the circumstances happening in your life and understanding on a "gut level" how those factors will influence your choices.   

    Most goals are chosen with the best of intentions, but in hindsight exclude some important elements that impact your daily life. If you don't allow yourself the time and space to take a closer look at these items, you can lose momentum, become frustrated and abandon what you want to achieve. 

     In addition, give your body a chance to voice its opinion. Pay attention to your physical energy every time you set an objective and notice whether you feel calm or excited or whether it's dread and lethargy. These are important cues to consider when you aim for self-improvement. In order to create your goals, take a look at the following questions and gauge with your body and mind what you may need.        

     Who are you? In contemplating new goals, consider your personality and how you can best accommodate your goal-setting plans. Are you someone who likes doing things on your own or do you thrive in a group? Do you operate best in the morning, afternoon or evening? Perhaps, in order to achieve a goal, you will have do something that goes against your natural style, like attending school at night when you are a morning person or fitting a workout in the morning when you are more energized in the evening. What do you need to do mentally and physically to support your personality if these challenges arise? Make a list of these factors along with how you like to learn and grow.  

     What's happening right now? Be realistic when creating your goals by observing your current life situation. What do you need to pay attention to right now in your life? Are there certain things that are new and or perhaps not changing for a while? Is your family expanding? Are you relocating, changing jobs, going back to school or handling a health issue? Be sure to include room for these important factors as you shape your goals. Life can surprise us and we sometimes have to adjust for the unexpected. However, you can still keep moving towards what you want by being realistic about your circumstances in such areas as health, state of mind, family and career.

     Ask yourself why achieving this goal is important to you. There are times when your goals will bring you immediate gratification and times when you have to wait for the prize. Taking an action to finish a work project provides immediate satisfaction while getting your doctorate has delayed gratification. Either way, it's important to remind yourself along the way that you are worth the effort. Connect to the self-care and self-respect that is involved in taking on a goal and accomplishing it. Write down why achieving this goal will matter to you either personally or professionally. Be proud that you are taking the sometimes difficult steps towards what you want.  

     What makes it real? Acknowledging your effort in tangible ways, is sometimes overlooked yet key to feeling like you are making strides. I have many of my clients do "acknowledgment" homework so that they can stay in touch with their journey. This means they have to come in with a written list of the accomplishments they have completed during the week not matter how small. I have them read it out loud and pause for verbal congratulations so that they can absorb what they have done. Whenever this particular assignment is finished, my clients inevitably feel their energy shift. Writing down your accomplishments and sharing them with others will inspire you to continue forward. 

     What needs to shift? Besides the strategies above, evaluating what's going well and what needs to shift will keep your goals moving. If you gauge your progress along the way, you won't tend to give up when you reach an impasse.  Sometimes, we give up rather than fine tune some aspect of our plan that is not working. However, we may just need to take smaller steps, resolve some fears, get information or bring in emotional support in order to continue. It's also important to not view the need for an adjustment as "starting over." Instead, you are simply picking your goal back up after reviewing it and resting on it a moment. All the experience and effort you have already put into this goal still counts.

     Knowing who you are, what your life is like and why this goal is important will provide a solid foundation for creating realistic goals. Acknowledging your efforts and evaluating your progress will propel you towards what you want. You can find more tips and tools like these in Karol Ward's new book, "Find Your Inner Voice: Using Instinct and Intuition Through the Body-Mind Connection" (Career Press, 2009) which is available at or Barnes& For more information or to book Karol as a speaker, go to: