Spinal Cord Injury Community

New Year – New Goals!

Aaron Baker
Spinal Cord Injury Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
12/30/16  12:31 PM PST

Baby Steps for Big Success

The new year is upon us and so too is the opportunity to start anew. The fresh calendar page presents like a blank canvas for new, well-intended habits and behaviors. My year will begin with pen to paper, writing down a list of specific things I want to focus on in 2017. I will scribe a list of detailed short-term targets, with correlating long-term and ultimate goals. I will frame my objectives with a loose time frame, so that I allow life to happen while remaining a flexible co-creator – not stressed by over-zealous expectations.

Now what I have just stated is a fairly common read in many best-practices for life books and is habitual for a lot of successful people. The difference for me, however, is my spinal cord injury and the fact that my body is consistently inconsistent. This is important because consistency is the key necessity to create, reach and sustain a goal or a new habit of behavior. So how do I reach my goals?

I Write it Down

I have shared this before in my article The Power of Written Intention where I recalled the first time I intentionally engaged a goal for my life.

Little did I know that my youthful exercise of writing my dream down on poster board, would be the first step in manifestation and would become the precursor to shaping the rest of my life.

Positive Outcome Intention

The entire process begins in my mind where I piece together a clear picture of what I want. I mull over past experiences, present day reality and the unforeseen future. Sometimes finding clarity isn’t always easy because I have many dreams and aspirations and at times it is hard to narrow my focus. I end up carefully selecting the goals I am most passionate about and that include people that I love and with whom I want to spend time. The most important part of this mindful process is the power of positive outcome intention, which means: be conscious of the quality of my thoughts, the selection of words I use to express those thoughts and the purpose of the actions I take.

Example of word selection: “I don’t want to get sick this year.” I would recommend re-framing this as: “My body is strong and so is my immune system.”

A written positive intention has very specific rules:

  • It is written in past tense (as if it has already happened)
  • It is written in allpositive terms
  • It should be hand-written, not typed, if possible
  • It identifies the most exceptional outcome you can imagine
  • It focuses on how you and others feel about the outcome and the impact you can have if you achieve your positive outcome
  • It is always a draft. Modify it over time. Write several versions to narrow it down and clarify it to perfection.

Baby Steps

I use the endearing term “baby steps” when working towards a goal because it was very applicable during the first few years of my recovery. I was literally taking baby steps for the first time, the second time in my life. Every single self-powered breath, flicker of movement, or increment of improvement were like the rungs on a ladder, the only way up is to climb each and every one.

Commitment & Consistency

As I climb the proverbial ladder towards my goals I recognize the importance of the journey. The process is rarely smooth and ups-and-downs are apart of the ride. The real key is commitment to the climb. Once I make up my mind and begin the work, I stay focused! Putting forth this kind of a consistent effort is the part of the formula I use sustained success.

However, to paraphrase Einstein: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity.”* So re-assessing and re-evaluating my goals along the way is important for my continued progress.


As I wrote above, it is all about the journey, so recognizing the subtleties along the way (i.e. smell the roses) is my secret. Life all around is happening for us, not to us, and it is in every moment that we have the opportunity to choose how we think and feel.

At the end of each day I lay happy knowing that I choose my goals, and that they involve supportive people and the pursuit of positivity. Anything less is a waste of time.

Click this link for my personal 2017 Goal Sheet.

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1 Comment

  1. Daniel Baker
    Posted December 31, 2017 at 11:46 pm PDT

    Very well said & written my Son! You enspire and touch so many people who know you and have followed your journey. As your Father and friend, I have the utmost respect and Love for you. To say you make me proud, goes way beyond the challenges you’ve endured and the miles of baby steps you’ve taken. May this New Year bless you and your Lovely Wife and partner (Katie) with the treasures you seek and desire. All my Unconditional Love, Dad.

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