by Camille McKinney,
Leadership Coach and Consultant 

Connecting to Your Goals:

Find Meaning First

New Year’s Day, my favorite holiday, is right around the corner. For me, it represents an opportunity to reflect on what’s coming to an end (buh-bye, 2020!) and designing a new beginning. The idea of starting over is so attractive; I get to put the past year behind me and start again…

Creating New Year’s resolutions is that annual activity that often sets us up to fail. Unless you have some super-human level of discipline, this scenario is probably familiar: by the end of February, maybe sooner, those resolutions are in your rear view mirror.

As a Leadership Coach, goal achievement is the foundation of my work. Goals are SMART when they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Professional goals are usually tied to a larger outcome with a clear level of accountability, like one’s performance review or annual bonus.

As for personal goals, WE are responsible for holding ourselves accountable. So unless you’ve got someone paying you every time you hit the gym, the motivation to stick with it is all on you.

Here are a few tips to consider when creating (and achieving) personal goals:

1.Identify your priorities. In my experience, goals tied to priorities have a better chance of success. What are your priorities? If you’re not sure, just take a look at what you were focused on this last year. If spending time with family is a priority, yet you were consistently putting in a 60-hour work week, what changes can you make to honor your priority around making time for family?

2.Connect to your goals. If any of your goals are simply a ‘to do’ without any personal meaning, your commitment to achieving the goal can be at risk. 

Some questions to consider: 

• Why is this goal important to ME? 

• Is the pain of the status quo MORE than the pain of changing? 

• How will I FEEL when I achieve this goal? 

• What will my life be like if I do NOTHING toward achieving this goal? Three months from now, six months from now, a year from now… 

3.Get some support. If you’re serious about achieving your goals, consider getting some support. Creating some level of personal accountability to another person can help. One way to do this is by identifying an accountability partner with a similar goal. Want to exercise more? Find someone who is willing to hit the gym with you (post-COVID) or walk that trail three mornings a week. Your commitment to another person makes it harder to back out. Another option? Hire a professional coach! A coach can help you define your goals and the right action steps to take to achieve them. Trust me…there’s a coach out there whose coaching focuses on the changes you want to make. 

Finally, if any of your goals are driven by a ‘should,’ go back to those questions in tip #2. Again, we are more apt to achieve the goals we create when we meaningfully CONNECT to the desired outcome. 

A look at real life: 

Sometimes I look at super successful people and think, “They must have all the time in the world.” In reality, they find micro-chunks of time and have Made it Easy (as mentioned in the book “ Atomic Habits” by James Clear) by focusing on the repetition of doing that task over and over again. 

What are some micro-moments in your life you could overhaul this year in 2021? Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

• Setting an alarm to write your memoir for five minutes every day at lunchtime 

• Preparing a healthy mid-morning snack/smoothie on Sunday for the entire week so that decision is already made. 

• Getting on that exercise equipment that is now a coat hanger for just five minutes every night before bedtime. If you biked for five minutes every day for 30 days and you can bike two miles a day at the end of the month that’s 60 miles!!! 

There are many micro ways we can improve our lives. Believe it or not, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out, even if we are in the Rocket City! It takes intentional decisions and finding ways to clear paths of resistance along the way. Here’s to starting the year one small step for man to help make one giant leap for 2021! 

Michelle Epling 

Account Executive 

Huntsville EVENT Magazine

Getting Healthy: 

Setting Goals for Wellness

What does wellness mean to you? Merriam-Webster defines wellness as the quality or state of being in good health, especially as an actively sought goal. Wellness doesn’t just apply to your physical self, but your mental and emotional health. 


The way we fuel our bodies affects overall health, and impacts how we feel, how well we rest, and even our brain function. Information from Ruth’s Nutrition suggests that health and wellness is a puzzle that may be solved with proper nutrition and the right supplements; from blood sugar, digestive wellness, skin care, mood management and weight management. 

According to a post entitled Nutrition Goals on, setting nutrition goals is important for everyone: Your diet shapes your health and wellbeing more than any other modifiable lifestyle factor in your life. When setting goals for nutrition, long-term dietary trends are what matters most. Ongoing nutritional intake patterns over time are important metrics to monitor when setting goals. 

The Burden of Disease report published by Journal of the American Medical Association identified dietary risks as the number one disease risk factor. 


Setting goals for weight loss may be the most popular resolution made for a new year. Those goals may also be the most quickly discarded. According to, setting goals for weight loss should include reasonable fitness goals like: completing planned workouts for the week; doing something active every day; drinking more water each day; standing up and stretching or walking every hour; getting more sleep most nights of the week; and taking a walk after dinner instead of watching TV. 

At Madison Fit Body Boot Camp, they recommend their unique style of workout, using High Intensity Interval Training and Active Rest Training to work the whole body. “With the rush that these workouts provide to your metabolism, your body will be able to burn extra fat for as long as 32 hours,” said Tina Ayers, owner and personal trainer who holds a degree in nutrition. 

A look at real life:

Having a personalized nutrition program is changing my life. I’m developing healthier habits, losing weight, feeling better and taking control of my well-being. The Jenny Craig program holds me accountable, teaches me how to deal with tough days, and motivates me.

Carolyn Stephenson

Director of Sales

Huntsville EVENT Magazine


Madison Fit Body Boot Camp

Ruth’s Nutrition and

To Retirement and Beyond:

Setting Goals for Investment and Retirement 

When we think of retirement, we tend to think of it as a long way off. But it’s never to early or too late to begin setting goals for it. 

A look at real life: 

As I worked on putting together this editorial, it motivated me to consider our retirement plan. Are we saving enough? Will we be able to maintain our lifestyle? We joke with our parents about spending our inheritance when they make a major purchase or take a long trip, but if we make the right decisions now, we will give our kids the chance to make those jokes with us when we retire. 

Lori Boatfield 


Huntsville EVENT Magazine

Planning for retirement begins by examining your lifestyle and needs now. According to the Clowers Wealth Management Group, it begins with a conversation about what they term a Confident Retirement approach, which focuses on key financial areas including: 

• Covering Essentials 

• Ensuring Lifestyle 

• Preparing for the unexpected 

• Leaving a legacy 

“By identifying clear steps to take toward your goals, we can help take the uncertainty out of planning your financial future. Working together, we can help you feel more confident, connected, and in control of your financial life,” said Jason Clowers. 

Before meeting with a financial advisor, the Clowers Group recommends asking the following questions about retirement: 

• “What are your most important financial goals right now?” 

• “What concerns you most about your finances?” 

It is also recommended that you prepare information about your current financial status by sharing information about accounts and income. For example, having a list of current income and expenses; bank investment statements, home and real estate, retirement accounts and insurance policies. 

When it comes to investments, it’s important to consider risk tolerance, which refers to one’s ability to endure market volatility That affects how your wealth advisor develops an appropriate investment strategy. Those nearing retirement and those who are already retired will have a different investment focus than someone who is just beginning to invest. In retirement, asset allocation should generate income from savings while growing the overall portfolio. 


Clowers Wealth Management Group

Saving your assets: 

Setting Goals for Estate Planning

If getting your estate planning documents together is one of your goals for 2021, there are several simple steps of review, collection and reflection you can take now to reach that goal early in 2021. First, review your asset and debts and put together a simple list, which should include just the type of asset and the approximate value. In addition to your home, your investment accounts, and retirement accounts, be sure to include your out of state property, life insurance, and any business or partnership interest you may have. 

Next, make a copy of your important papers, such as birth certificates, deeds, car registration, a list of passwords, and even copies of bank and investment statements. Be sure the original documents are in a safe, fire-proof location. Not only is it a good idea to have all of these important papers in one place, but a review of them will ensure that you have included everything on your asset list in step one. Put with your important papers the contact information for your family members. Easy access to contact information is especially important for families that are spread out nationally and internationally, as many Huntsville families are. 

Finally, spend a few minutes reflecting on your unique family situations, for example, whether you or your extended family members have blended families, stepchildren, step-grandchildren, divorce, adoption, or non-traditional relationships. Also consider whether 

anyone in your family requires special care. This can be a parent, child, or sibling who has special needs or disabilities, mental health issues, or substance abuse struggles. 

Once you have taken these steps, you are ready to sit down with an estate planning attorney to discuss how you want your assets to pass at your death: you know what you have, what makes your family unique, and who in your family might need special care or attention after you are gone. Taking these steps of review, collection, and reflection about your family, will help your attorney craft an estate plan that is tailored to your particular situation. 

At Hinson & Hinson we try to make this process easy for our clients by providing an Estate Planning Fact Sheet for them to collect the information and to review together. 

Maia A. Newman 


Hinson & Hinson, P.C., Huntsville

A look at real life: 

Life can take unexpected turns. It did for us seven years ago when my father passed away suddenly. He was gone without preparing his will or leaving information about his business, and without letting my mother know how he paid the bills. My sisters and I tried to help my distraught mother with phone calls but no one would speak to us because we weren’t named on the accounts. 

We ended up going through the probate process and having my mother listed as the executor to get the needed documents. A lot of loose ends needed to be tied up to get through this process. My advice is to consider the following steps when setting goals for estate planning: 

• Contact an attorney familiar with estate planning: 

• This may include drawing up a will if you don’t have one already, whether you think your estate is worth much or little. It is the guideline followed in the legal division of property and can help avoid family disputes. 

• Plan for a financial and healthcare power- of-attorney that would enable a family member or trusted person to act on your behalf if you are incapacitated. 

•Consider downsizing your belongings. Doing this with your children is a way to reveal what pieces hold special meaning for them, as well to reminisce. 

Patty Satterly 

Creative Director 

Huntsville EVENT Magazine

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