Happy New Year!!! I hope you had a fantastic weekend! How many of you made resolutions? Still hanging in there with them?
Me? I don’t make resolutions any more. I was the worst at breaking them early on January 1st. Or I’d procrastinate by setting a start date that would never actually arrive.
I think it is the word. Resolution. The resolution. Something is resolved. Someone became resolved to change. Resolutions are so….well, final. They seem like an all or nothing deal. I’ve never been wishy-washy, but I am susceptible to doubt and distraction. Maybe more so than most people. Once I’d fail or slip up, I’d throw in the towel.
I did a lot better when I set goals. Even the word is less intimidating. By definition, it screams “I haven’t made it yet, but I’m inching my way there”. Two steps forward, one step back. One step forward two steps back. It really doesn’t destroy the idea of determination in your mind when working on a goal. If you fall today, you still feel you can pick up and try again tomorrow.
Way Too Many Irons In The Fire.
This year I have a lot of work to do. Like I said, I don’t think there is any facet of our life left untouched over the past couple of years. How do you come up with reasonable goals when everywhere you look, there is something that needs improvement? I’ve been thinking a lot about it over the last several days. Mostly I kept thinking about all of the many individual tasks I keep seeing everywhere I look and all of the things each of us needs to pay attention to as individuals. Once those thoughts get started, the noise can get deafeningly loud making it impossible to think.
And I just don’t have the strength to take on my old goal methodology which was an overly complex, multi-headed dragon I developed for myself based on what I knew of accomplishing single goals.
There still are so many things of good goal setting to try to keep in mind as I attempt to tackle several things at once. I thought that since I am going to be thinking of them while setting out a way to start climbing the ladder around here, it was only fair to share them with you. In laying out this project, I don’t want it to become overwhelming for me writing nor for anyone trying to absorb all of this information. I am going to break this up into smaller chunks. So right now, I am going to focus my writing on relaying some principles for good goal setting and stop.
The SMART/SMARTER Method of setting goals is widely used and commonly found in all components of business. Since we adopt professional practices more and more to apply to our productivity in our personal lives as well as work, you can easily find variations all over the internet. I’ll summarize and give a quick example. Take the single goal you have and check to see if you have included all of these steps.
- S – Specific (or simple) – Eat less and exercise more to lose 20 pounds. If you just said, “I’ve got to lose some weight” are you likely to give it as much energy and effort as you would with a specific number to work toward? How do you know when to celebrate?
- M – Measurable - You can track weights, calories, or portion volumes. You can measure frequency of exercise. You can measure the weight lost.
- A – Attainable (or action) – Evaluating if the goal is attainable. Is 20 pounds reasonable? Are there road blocks that make the goal impossible? Overcoming the road blocks would become the new goal or go back and start over at step 1 to come up with an alternative goal. (or the action taken toward meeting the goal.)
- R – Relevant – Is this goal relevant to our long-term goals or over all purpose? How is this goal relevant to who we are/intend to be? Does this goal make it possible/assist us in accomplishing or main goals? Since we are talking about weight as an example, let’s say this goal may help us become healthier to better accomplish all of the other things we need to do.
- T – Timed – Usually meaning a deadline. 20 pounds before the class reunion. (If I have open ended goals, I think of specific times to check progress, i.e. I will weigh, take pictures, or take body measurements at specific time intervals - daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Either way, wetting specific times is important to keep the goal from falling through the cracks.)
- E – Evaluate – Usually meaning times along the way for milestones and making adjustments. (Since with many of the goals I set, I use T for milestones, I think of E simply as evaluating if our actions are helping or hindering us from meeting the goal then making adjustments as needed.)
- R – Reward (or re-evaluate) – Celebrate accomplishment or if the goal was not met, determining if it should be abandoned or extended with adjustments to the previous steps.
A Second Process With Some Very Good Points To Keep In Mind
Someone introduced me to the philosophies of Zig Ziglar when I was in college (business). He is a motivational speaker with amazing productivity and marketing strategies. I love the way he tells stories to simplify such hefty concepts and really spell out the practical applications. I was able to see him give a similar talk as the one in this video where he talks about goal setting. I fully admit I bought the full set of his tapes and took notes like crazy. One of the best business professors I had back in the day.
Zig Ziglar Goal Videos
Mr. Ziglar’s steps for goal setting paraphrased and summarized:
- Write down the objective.
- Date it/set a deadline.
- Identify obstacles.
- Identify people, groups, organizations to work with.
- Make an action plan.
- Identify the things you need to know
- State exactly what’s in it for you.
These found videos are a 3 part series.
The second video, Part 2 of 3 – Hilarious! – describes exactly why the years go by without us making progress. Moral of the story (paraphrased) is to do it/start it now. There will never be a perfect time to begin. Quit waiting for the right time.
Part 3 of 3 – to complete the set. warns us not to confuse activity with accomplishment (progress). Too true, Too true.
I wonder what kinds of goals if any you’re setting for yourself? Do you work them through steps like these?