I have a friend who is decidedly NOT a Disney person. She refers to the movie Frozen as “the movie that shall not be named.” I also have a friend who buys every Disney movie on DVD when it is first available and (no lie) has a daughter named Ariel. I fall somewhere in the middle. While I’m thoroughly annoyed by The Little Mermaid, I really like Moana. There is a very short song with this line in it:

 “This is not who you are. You know who you are.”

This phrase sometimes enters my mind as I’m having a little Mom meltdown.  As in, “Hey, crazy woman, this is not who you are. You know who you are…And P.S., you’re 45 years old so no tantrums allowed.”  (Today there was a such a moment when I discovered a drawing pasted to my favorite piece of furniture using Vaseline as an adhesive.)

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I also use this phrase as a guideline when setting goals for myself. I want to stretch and change and improve…but I also want to avoid setting myself up for big messy failure by setting too many goals at a time or making them too complicated. All of which is common sense, right? Seems like it, but there’s a whole literature devoted to the science of success, from the detailed (7 Habits of Highly Effective People) to the very simple (Shining Your Sink— this the basic philosophy behind “The Fly Lady” method of home organization).


One technique I like could be called the piggyback. Take a habit you already have in place and add one on top of it. For example, I am pretty good about getting on the elliptical for 20 minutes a day. This year I want to be more consistent about reading scripture, so my piggyback goal is to listen to or read scripture on my phone as I work out.

Invite Friends.

Another idea to think about is setting a goal with a friend. This is the time of year when many fitness challenge groups form on social media platforms and among face-to-face friends. Besides the mutual cheerleading benefit, there is a certain accountability that accompanies group goal-setting. The last such group I participated in was a great motivator and helped me cope with the shame of secretive tater tot consumption.

Use Technology

Technology can be a friend when it comes to reminders. I’m an Android person and I use the reminders and goal setting features within the Google calendar to remind myself to drink water, do yoga, and not eat after 8 pm.  Tech can also be a giant pest (Fitness Pal app, stop telling me I need to get on the scale. I am not ready to get on the scale. Christmas was less than a month ago.)

Lastly, consider this quote by Brendon Burchard, author of High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Became That Way.

“People think, ‘If I could only get motivated, then I’ll act.’ Nope. In actuality, it’s the opposite.”


Taking action toward a goal, even if it is a small effort, will give you a boost of positivity. When you go to bed at night, you can think to yourself, “I did it today! Good for me! “ And the next day, you’ll remember that feeling and want to do it again.




Question:  How do you set effective goals keeping in mind who you are?

Write it down in a journal, talk it over with a friend or leave a comment on Facebook.