The last couple of posts I’ve been talking about why New Year’s resolutions suck and why goals are awesome. Today I’m going to tell you my method for setting goals. It’s time to get busy.
Goals are a very private endeavor. My goals will be, and should be, radically different from your own. What I can tell you is that I try to look at several broad subjects and pick goals that are balanced across those channels.
That means that I look at things like relationships, health, money, creativity, and fun, and make sure that my goals align with what I want in those fields. Money and creativity get a lot of attention from me, because I’m trying to build something important in those fields, but realize that relationships, health and fun will affect whether you will achieve those goals.
For example, if I neglect my health, I won’t have the energy or ability to do my work. If I neglect fun activities I won’t be inspired to be creative.
Goals need to be SMART, or specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. I’ll talk more about this in my next post.
Record Your Goals
The most important part of this process is taking some valuable alone-time and getting your goals down in a place that you can refer to them regularly. I can’t stress enough how important it is for you to get into a quiet space and spend time thinking about what you want.
I use a journal to write down goals, but you could easily use a notepad, or use a voice-recording on your phone, or use Evernote, or whatever. It doesn’t matter, as long as you get your goals down and you can refer to them regularly.
Now it’s time to dream. Get all of your thoughts out there about all of the different phases of your life you’d like to address. Be silly. Be bold. Dare to dream, and dream big. Get it all out there… short-term, bucket lists, pie-in-the-sky, and the super practical.
Then start weeding through those goals. Pick a handful that really resonate with you, are SMART, and most importantly, will put you on the right path.
Organize Your Goals
Some goals will be the sort of thing you could accomplish tomorrow morning, those are great but they need to be added to a daily list. Others might take a couple of decades. What you’re really looking for are the big goals that will serve as a road map for your future.
Take those big goals and organize them by due date. I have goals that are due in a few months, others that will take a year, and some will take much longer. Put those big goals down in one location and date them.
Review Your Goals
I do a list of big goals twice a year. You will accomplish some goals so you get the pleasure of removing them from you list. Sometimes you’ll discover that you don’t really want to spend time doing a particular goal, so you’ll remove those. And, of course, you’ll miss some goals and need to write them down again. No big deal.
The real value comes in reviewing these goals regularly. Compare your goals to what you’re doing daily. If the goal is important enough to you then you’ll adjust your daily activities to make room for them.
You know how long it’s going to take to achieve a specific goal. You’re either moving in the direction or you’re not. If not, correct your course. This is where defining your goals will pay off in the long term.
While other people are flailing around and wasting time, you’ll be sailing in the right direction. You’ll be confident that your dreams are being serviced.
One final thought about setting goals. Remember that these goals are not cast in stone. You can modify, add or subtract to them at any time. Don’t feel trapped by your goals, they are there to set you free.
Do you have questions about setting goals? Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, share with me your ideas about setting goals. I’m always looking for new ideas.