Are you struggling to get started with goal setting? Do you know you want to improve on an area of your life by setting some goals, but you’re just not sure where to start?

This week we look at giving.

By giving I mean philanthropy, charity, volunteering, campaigning etc. Anything directed at changing other peoples lives than your own for free. Does the idea of setting goals in the field of giving sound odd? There are at least 3 good reasons to consider it.

1. As with any other area of your life. The more planning, structure and thought you put into your giving, the more likely you are to achieve the specific results you would like. Sometimes if you go about it in a haphazard way you are just throwing resources into the ether and hoping. It may do some good, but you ‘ll never know.

2. Giving is good for you. We all have a drive to participate, to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and just be nice to other humans. If you never give in any way, you are cutting yourself off from part of the human experience.

3. Giving feels good.

4. If you don’t structure your giving when you feel resourceless, you may not carry through when you are resourceful. You do not have to be a millionaire or to give. Some of the least resourceful give the most and do it with joy.

OK, onto themes.

1. Causes. You don’t have to have a cause to give, but you will feel more personally invested. Some people are very clear and passionate about which causes they do or don’t support, some people just don’t have something they can connect to. But choosing a cause is something you can read about, research, and talk to people about. What causes do your friends feel strongly about? Many people set goals to either choose a cause (pretend you are going on Celebrity Apprentice and you need to pick a charity to represent!), and some people already have a cause they just need to re-connect to.

2. Method. You can give time, you can give money, you can give advice, you can simply change some of your own daily habits to reflect your values. (Some people get enormous value out of recycling carefully or using eco-friendly household products). So how do you want to give? And what’s in it for you? It sounds awful, but as with any other goal, the more you can create a win-win the better. There is a reason Britain tops the international league tables for most amount of money raised through sporting events, such as sponsored marathon runs. We’re a very giving bunch, but we like to combine it with other outcomes.

3. Random acts of kindness or serendipitous giving. Some people take a more interesting and less structured path with giving. For example pick a rule like “you will only say kind things to people for a day”, or “ you will perform one random act of kindness to a stranger today”. See what opportunities present themselves to you to enact your rule. Do you get any? Do you have to go out of your way to find an opportunity? Giving is not necessarily time or money. It can be essentially you. Make time for a friend who is suffering.

4. The Life-changer. Some people make truly impressive, big acts of giving. These are your goals, and you don’t have to give at all, never mind give away 99% of your wealth like Warren Buffet has promised to. But some people have done some spectacular things. If this is a meaningful goal to you – to make a big, impactful action, consider it carefully.

in the meantime think back – when did you last give? What did you give? How was that? Would you do it again?

Till next time! Veronica x