Setting Goals the Right Way During the Holidays (and All Year Round!)

“A goal casually set and lightly taken is abandoned at first obstacle.” – Zig Ziglar

I’m sure you can all relate that the Holiday season is the busiest time of year! Between the gift shopping, the decorating, the cooking and spending time with family, it’s easy to get a little lost and lose sight of our goals during this festive time. We’ve all decided to put things off until after the near year because it all just seems to be too much to add to our plates around this time! Well, I’m here to tell you, do not put it off! Let’s talk about the right way to set goals!

Over the years I’ve learned a lot by reading different books and refining the way I set my own personal goals. Through this, I’ve come to find that I had been doing it wrong the whole time and setting myself up to fail!

I am fortunate to have been in the dance business for over 27 years, 12 of which I was a Ballroom Dance competitor. From the very beginning of my career, I was taught to set annual goals, quarterly goals and so on. We still do this with our staff today, but we’ve changed the format. As the owner of two studios, a judge and coach, I find that similar problems tend to frustrate us all similarly when it comes to goal setting and a lot of it has to do with how and why set our goals and the expectations we attach to them. If we set our goals because someone told us to, a teacher or supervisor, for example, we automatically will have some resistance to the idea because we categorize it as something that we have to do for someone else. If the goal is set lightly and without any personal passion, we will be more likely not to follow through with it.

Another thing about setting goals is that when setting them, you must be specific with yourself. For example, “I want to make more money,” is too general. A goal like this needs steps and a timeline to actually put it into motion and make it obtainable. It is easier to envision your goal when you focus on what you can work on each day to achieve it and organize your to-do list accordingly.

I am not a believer in putting things off to “start on Monday” or starting “after the holidays,” next month, etc. This type of procrastination makes me a little crazy, as many people in my life know, because I think it’s just our way of putting things off. If we make this a habit, we will always find an excuse. So start it today! Don’t wait until after the holidays when things slow down because the truth is, we will always be too busy.

When I was dancing competitively, I remember saying and thinking things like, “I want to make the finals,” “I want to make a certain placement,” or “I want to beat ‘so and so.’” That would be the goal I would set for myself, but the problem with this is that most of it was out of my control. There are so many variables that go into Ballroom Dance competitions that are not just about how well you performed. It is also about the other people you are performing against, which brings me to my next piece of advice, which is to not set goals that are out of your control.

Depending on the competition I went to, I may place first in one and at the next I might get sixth. Was it really that I did not improve or that I was not as good the second time around? No! It depended on who else showed up to compete. I may have improved, yet my results made it seem as if I did not. If you’re setting a goal of wanting to hit a certain placement, well that’s up to the judges and is affected by many other variables other than how great of a dancer you are. What IS in our control is setting goals that are more action-based, purposely focusing on your own behavior, not your result. Set goals like, “I want to improve my routine,” or “I want to have my routine finished by a certain date.” Goals like this can be achieved based on how many times you go to practice or how many lessons you take. Things that ARE in your control.

The tricky part of all this is that we don’t always reach the goal when we think we should or when we want to. This is not a reason to give up. I like having goals and achieving them and at the end of the day, the only thing I can control is the effort I put into it. I can’t always control the results and they never will come as fast as we all want, agreed? But if you keep putting in the work and reach out to people that can help you to improve, the results will come.

This Holiday season, make it a point to not forget about your person goals! If you miss a day or two, that’s ok! You can get right back on track the next day. It doesn’t have to be ALL or nothing. Please just don’t abandon your momentum. It’s so much harder to get your goals back into motion after a dead stop.
Stick to your timeline, set achievable stepping stones and do not put it off.

Live, Love, Dance, and Enjoy!


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