Happy New Year!
As we enter 2013, it is a perfect time to look forward and set goals for the New Year. The problem with goal setting is that many of us aren't very good at it. I know I wasn't. I had difficulty knowing what goals to set and how to be realistic yet at the same time allowing myself to dream a bit. The truth is, goal setting is a skill that takes a lot of practice and some know how. In 2012, I had my most successful year ever in many facets of my life simply because of proper goal setting. I can attribute a lot of that success to a book I read in early 2012 called Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want -- Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy. I'd highly recommend this book to you, especially at the beginning of a New Year.
Here are 7 keys to efficient goal setting as laid out in Tracy's book:
- Goals must be clear, specific, detailed, and written down. If you aren't sure where to start, I'd recommend writing your top 10-15 goals down on a sheet of paper. Then, tomorrow write your top 10-15 again without looking at yesterday's list. Follow this practice the next day, and the next, and the next. Do this throughout the month of January and this practice will help you solidify what you really want.
- Goals must be measurable and objective. Find a way to measure your goals. Resist the urge to say things like, "I want a better marriage." Get specific. Dream a little. Envision what it will look like and find a way to measure the progress you want to make.
- Goals must be time bounded, with schedules, deadlines, and subdeadlines. There are no unrealistic goals, there are merely unrealistic deadlines. A goal without a deadline is a fantasy. So, put a date on every goal. When would you like to accomplish your goal? This is a learned art and is often the most difficult part about goal setting. But, don't afraid to fail in this area. If you miss a deadline, learn from it and reset it. Over time, you will learn how to be more accurate.
- Goals must be challenging. Set challenging deadlines. Push yourself. Don't be afraid to miss a deadline and so push it off way into the future. Make yourself work at it. Be realistic, but challenging. It's a tension you will have to manage.
- Goals must be congruent with your values. Your goals will always have to match what's most important to you. For example, be careful of setting a challenging goal in your professional life if it will compromise the value of your family life. It helps to understand that there will always be tensions you will have to manage. Which leads us to point #6.
- Goals must be balanced. Don't just set goals for your professional or financial life, try to set a goal or two for every important area of your life. Here are some areas you should set goals for: a) Your spiritual life; b) Your marriage; c) for your children; d) your health; e) your finances; f) your professional life; g) your recreations; h) your self-development; i) your ministry; j) your dream; etc.
- You must have a major definite purpose for your life. You must have one goal that, if you accomplish it, can do more to help you improve your life than any other single goal. This is your big picture goal. Without it is like trying to do a puzzle without the cover picture. You will have a bunch of pieces but if you don't know what the final picture looks like, it can be awfully difficult to put them all together.
Question: Have you sat down and thought through your goals for 2013?