Set your goals for 2016

Obviously, everyone has goals. Things they want to accomplish in their lifetime and things they want to accomplish today or next week.
But as we live, sometimes our goals become more refined—or even change completely.
Take me, for instance. I had my whole life planned at age four. I was going to be a teacher like Miss Peck, my adored grade school teacher.
So at age 18, I began teaching in a country school. But, as I taught, I realized young children weren’t for me. So I returned to college, planning to earn a business degree and teach high school.
Then a life-changing thing happened. The dean of girls called me into her office and said that, after seeing my test scores, she thought I was in the wrong field.
“You should be an English major,” she told me. I said, “OK,” and was launched on my lifetime course.
After four years of teaching English, I switched from teaching to writing and have been writing ever since. That’s the way goals often are formed–a combination of planning and synchronicity.
Some people, like my husband, have their goals stored way back in their heads. It worked well for him. He wrote four books in 10 years without ever articulating a goal. He just did it!
I, on the other hand, take goal-writing seriously. Long-term and short-term goals, career goals, social goals, even pet goals.
Pet goals?! When our children were young we had cocker spaniels. After the spaniels were gone and my children were grown, I knew I wanted another dog. But what kind?
I went to area dog shows and researched breeds, finally deciding on a gentle giant—the intelligent black Newfoundland. When I told the family, my son said, “They slobber.”
And that was that! No one wanted a dog that required a bib.
My research had not paid off so I just began dreaming what kind of dog I would enjoy. And came up with this: “a polite white dog, and have it come to me.”
Several years later, my son, who lived in Omaha at the time, arrived at our front door with a beautiful white dog. Her name was Phoebe.
We have loved all of our dogs. But Phoebe was special. She was the most polite, well-mannered dog I have ever met. And she also was stunningly beautiful. A mixed breed, she was one of a kind.
One career goal that I achieved came after retiring at age 63. I planned to write a syndicated column and my goal was to be syndicated at age 65.
“This Side of 60,” premiered in The Newton Kansan when I was 64. My next paper was The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, which printed my column for the first time the week of my 65th birthday.
How’s that for goal-setting! But those are my successes. Goal-setting is not easy. It takes hard work and involves disappointment. Still, it is imperative, especially as you age.
So now is the time to formulate your goals for 2016. Do you want to write a novel or would you prefer writing your life story? Or is it your goal to transfer from the wheelchair to the bed and avoid going to health care?
What are your dreams and hopes? Formulate them into goals and move toward achieving them in this fresh new year.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at