Goal Setting

Goals are not easy. There is a lot to read about setting goals and how important they are. Even though this is a VERY common topic, it really doesn’t set in with many people since there are less than 4% of people in North America actually writing down any goals. That is just staggering. I guess people don’t do goal setting because they just don’t believe all the people writing about how important they are and how they can massively and positively affect your life. Well, I’m one of those believers, I’ve seen it, lived it and never going to stop using goals in my life. And this is for those that actually DO set goals. This is not about setting the goals themselves, but getting something out of them once you have set them.

Write them down

A lot of folks believe that they have set goals but then say they are in there head and are not written down. I’m sorry, but a goal not written is not a goal at all. Writing it down puts it to paper so it can’t be ignored, changed (without intention), or even falsely accepted (if its a well written goal). You MUST do this to get anything out of your goals.

Review your goals

Whether you wrote your goals one time in school, at work or are more active and writing goals yearly or even monthly, they won’t do you much good unless you review them. You need goals to be your focus and I suggest reviewing them at least weekly to track progress and to refresh your mind into thinking about achieving those goals continually. Daily review is even better. Our busy lives distract us into a terrible cycle of just “doing fine”, getting buy, paying the bills and forgetting to really live for the things we want to live for, the things in our written goals.

Make a habit of reviewing and reading your goals on a regular basis. Think about what steps you’ve taken to meet each one, put estimates of progress completion if it is a lot of work to get there and consider some simple actions to get you moving toward your goal. Use outlook or another calendar application to remind your and schedule some time to pay attention to reviewing your goals.

Adjust your goals

After reviewing your goals, it might be appropriate to adjust them. If you’ve missed a target date for a goal, adjust it. Don’t just leave it! Change goal and rewrite it so it is again something to work towards instead of a reminder of failure or excuse to not act on other goals. Everyone’s lives change frequently and so should your goals. You can’t plan everything in your life, so don’t try. You learn to live under different circumstances so you should do the same to adjust your goals to properly fit your life and circumstances. You’ll be much happier working on goals that are appropriate than some old goal you no longer believe in.

Be accountable to goal progress

You should always be making some steps towards your goals. When reviewing your goals, make note and records about the steps you make toward achieving the goal. This works best by having a goal partner, boss, spouse, friend or mentor to review your goals with. If you are willing to share your goals and the action plans and commitments to meet them, your goal partner will be able to expect progress towards these goals. Having some accountability in someone else you trust and respect goes a long way to keeping your focus on your goals. It can also bring forth discussion about the priority and measures of each goals to make them align better with your life and things you can actually work towards. There are also steps to take towards any goal and another person can help with planning ideas with you.

Write about and share your goals

Reviewing your goals is a great way to focus on them and a partner helps with accountability. Another technique that can really push you to get the most out of your goals, is to write about them or share them with other people. There are s many ways to write about your goals to others such as in letters, reports, email, instant messaging, social network sites, blogs, books, articles, etc. All of these force you to think about the goals and it often brings more accountability since your audience will have some expectation that the goals are something important to you. They might ask and look for some kind of progress themselves so you will feel more obligation to complete them and please your audience.

Take joy in the goals you meet

Keep track of goals that you have met. Keep them handy as you review current goals to help remind you of the many goals already accomplished. Enjoy and celebrate the completion of any goal, big or small. Completing goals is very satisfying and can bring a lot of joy and sense of accomplishment in life. Take hold of that.

And when your done celebrating and being satisfied, use these completed ones to remind you of your success when struggling with other goals. Also, when you complete a goal, look at what new goals to set in that same area of your life and review your other goals to see if things need to be adjusted. Keep moving forward and get right back to working on the other remaining goals.

Prev: The courage of Leadership
Next: Book Review: Mere Christianity