4 Grammar Rules for Goal Setting

I’m pleased as punch to present my first guest blogger, Renata J. Razza. Renata coaches clients to harness their authenticity and intention to find an easier, more joyful way to be and to dare in work and in life. Go give his delightful blog some love. -Kristy

In homage to the Sexy Grammarian, we’re going to have some fun with grammar and goal setting. Read on for 4 simple grammar rules and what they mean for your goal setting.

1. Every sentence must have a subject (even if only by implication).

In grammar, a subject is the thing that’s doing the action. It’s the sentence’s hero. And every goal needs a hero, too.

You get to be the hero of every one of your goals. So shoot for ” I will…” goals. They emphasize your choice and your desire. In “I need to…” or “I ought to…” goals, there’s an implied external subject that supersedes the written “I.” It’s that voice in your head that judges you and shoulds you, if it says anything at all. Trust me, you don’t want to start working for that guy.

2. Mind your synonyms.

No one wants to read writing that repeats the same word over and over and over. But when you dig for your thesaurus to find a synonym, pay attention to the flavor or connotation of the replacement word.

In goal setting, it’s easy to start with “want” and shift to “will” then to “ought” then to “should” then to “need.” Each of these words dramatically changes the flavor of your goal. Is it just a dream, as “want” implies? Is someone else telling you it’s what’s next for you (like “ought”)? Is desperation hidden in it (need to do it!!)?

Or is it a commitment? Nothing says commitment like the words, “I will do it.”

3. Avoid run-on sentences.

We’ve all read sentences that don’t really know what their focus is and therefore, they don’t really know when to start or stop so they just kind of keep going and then you, the reader, lose the thread entirely, right? (Forgive me: sometimes demonstration is priceless.)

Run-on goals are non-specific and unfocussed. So you never know when you’ve actually achieved them. Notice:

I will grow my business a lot this year.

Now compare:

I will double my monthly number of clients by July 2010.

Specific goals keep a focus and an end in sight. That’s what gives them their power.

4. Only transitive verbs need an object; intransitive verbs do not.

There are verbs that do actions to other things and there are verbs that just act or just are.

In the fervor that drives goal setting it’s easy to forget to give yourself the care and feeding that will allow you to meet your goal. So, go ahead…set ambitious goals. Just remember to drop into the intransitive verbs sometimes to refuel, rest and be.

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