Set Goals

When I decided to pursue a certification as a health and wellness coach it was primarily to work with divorced or single parents with kids. Having gone through a very difficult time as a single divorced parent, it took me years just to make my way back to normalcy and even longer to land at a place where I was satisfied with my situation and proud of my accomplishments. I was confident that I could use my experiences that go back more than 40 years to help other divorced and single parents navigate to a better life for them and their children. I could not have survived without drawing upon my personal experiences with goal-setting. I was in such a desperate place, I knew I had to take baby steps and I knew I had to track my accomplishments, sometimes daily, regardless of how miniscule it may have seemed. Whether your goal is to lose weight, put your kids through college or train for a marathon, there is nothing more important than setting goals and tracking your accomplishments. Even something as simple as losing 1 pound per month or walking 1 mile, three times per week, requires setting realistic goals.

Goal Setting

Personal Experience with Setting Goals

If you have experienced some success in your life; as a businessperson, an athlete, student, musician, perhaps even in politics or a charity, you understand the benefits of goal setting. I got my first job in 1982. I was 22 years old, and it was a sales position. I sold printing products, forms and catalogues for the largest printer in the world and my territory was Brooklyn, NY. My sales manager and the first boss I ever had introduced me to goal setting. Today, most people understand the concept of goal setting. In 1982, it was novel. Here is a synopsis; daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Since it was a sales job, my goals were; 10-15 cold calls per day, 2 scheduled appointment per day, which should yield 3 sales per week and 12 per month, which would generate $15K per month in revenue and between $180K and $200K annually. That’s not my commission, just the gross sales volume for the year. Those numbers would also make me the top salesperson in the region for all the first-tier salespeople. I followed the plan and it worked.

First year on the job, tops in my region, salary plus commission $ 30k. If you go back and look at what jobs were paying in the early 80’s, $30k was great money. I soon applied that philosophy to all aspects of my life. By the time I was 30 years old, I had a very significant net worth, had run 5 miles in under 30 minutes, run a marathon, competed in a triathlon and got my black belt in Jui Jitsu. It also allowed me to donate money to some of the causes and charities I supported, which included the youth group in my church. My income, success and learning how to budget my time motivated me to volunteer for different causes, which I enjoyed very much. Living in New York, at the time, there was no limit of volunteer opportunities. The hardest thing I ever did was volunteer at Mother Teresa’s soup kitchen in the south Bronx and the most rewarding was as a youth minister. The success I had experienced at my new job allowed me to be charitable. Probably, the most fulfilling part of experiencing success early in life.

So what does this have to do with being divorced? If you can’t understand how or why, allow me to explain. When I got divorced, I lost everything. My family, my home, my health, my job, my credit was shot, nothing remained. I mentioned trauma in my second blog. I was the poster boy for trauma. After I lost everything, I experienced the straw that broke the camel’s back, literally. I had some type of seizure or breakdown. I was positive it was a stroke, but years later when I went to a neurologist, she said it was a stress related attack and not a stroke.

However, the important and critical point to note here is that I experienced significant cognitive decline. I wondered, how will I ever get a job when I am having problems with my memory and at times, barely speaking clearly. How will I ever be able to get a house and see my kids. And when I see my kids, what am I going to do for them or with them with no money or income. I had to start my life over again with a very serious set of obstacles. I went back to the basics. The same set of disciplines I relied on when I was in my 20’s: daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals, was the only strategy that made sense.

At the time, I didn’t have much confidence that this would be the ideal approach, but I didn’t have many options. The plan was; keep making calls, on the phone or in person, until I can line up a job interview. 25 calls per day led to one interview. 3-5 interviews per week got me a job. Make sure the job is consistent with my priorities and get to work.

My first job was at a kiosk at a mall. It was a horrible job, but 30 hours a week gave me flexibility to spend time with my kids and continue to look for a higher paying job. At the time my home was in foreclosure. If you have never been in that position before, there is one, and only one benefit. When your home is in foreclosure, you don’t have to make your monthly mortgage payments. You can live rent free until the home is foreclosed. Some banks will give you additional time to move out. Some banks will also give you an opportunity to postpone the foreclosure, which allowed me to live in the house without paying my mortgage for almost 10 months.

The kiosk job allowed me to pay all my bills, minus my mortgage payments (which I didn’t have to pay) and health insurance. At least I was surviving. After a few months (or less) at the kiosk, I got a job at a call center. More money and still flexible hours. A few months later, I was able to move out of the house with the few remaining pieces of furniture and one TV. This happened just two weeks before the foreclosure sale. Yes, that also means two weeks from being homeless. I stuck to the plan.

Within five years, I was making $ 100k, was able to buy a decent used car, was living in a nice house (rented, but still nice). I was able to pay for my kids sporting events and other things, like clothes, better food, cell phones and computers. More importantly than anything else. I paid off a lot of debt. I had over $25k in Health insurance claims and tax liens to name a couple. I was able to  attend every game and at least one practice per week for my son who played mainly football and my daughter who played softball and cheered.

Even if you are financially secure, you still need to set goals to have a healthy and meaningful relationship with your kids. A daily phone call, weekly dinners, vacations, special places, sharing hobbies. Those were some of the goals as well.  You could say that setting and striving towards goals is an essential aspect of human life, driving personal growth, achievement, and success. Whether in academics, career, personal development, or any other area, goal setting is a powerful tool that shapes our actions, priorities, and ultimately, our destiny.

Important Long Lasting Benefits

First and foremost, goal setting provides clarity and purpose. It helps individuals identify what they want to achieve, allowing them to direct their efforts toward a specific target. This clarity minimizes distractions and ensures that time and energy are channeled effectively. Goals act as a roadmap, guiding individuals in decision-making and keeping them on a structured path. Setting goals also serves as a motivational force.

When we establish clear objectives, we are more likely to find the drive and enthusiasm to pursue them. As we achieve smaller milestones on the way to a larger goal, a sense of accomplishment reinforces our motivation and self-esteem. This ongoing motivation fuels perseverance, which is vital for long-term success. Furthermore, goal setting promotes accountability. It establishes a standard against which we can measure our progress.

When goals are written down and tracked, it becomes more challenging to deviate from the plan. This self-accountability encourages consistency and discipline. Moreover, goal setting enhances focus and time management. With clear objectives in mind, individuals are better equipped to prioritize tasks, allocating their resources, including time, efficiently. This focus not only increases productivity but also reduces stress and anxiety as it minimizes feelings of being overwhelmed.

Goal setting also has additional indirect benefits that impact your physical and mental health. It can build esteem, reduce stress and even improve your cognitive function. Understanding and implementing goal setting is one of the most important life skills a person should develop.


In summary, goal setting is a fundamental tool that empowers individuals to realize their aspirations. It provides direction, motivation, and accountability, and sharpens focus and time management skills. Ultimately, the importance and benefits of goal setting extend far beyond individual achievement; they have the power to shape a fulfilling and purposeful life. By setting and pursuing meaningful goals, we embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth, unlocking our full potential along the way. If you are a single parent, I implore you to use this blog to set realistic goals so you can reach your potential as a single parent and return your life to normalcy.

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