Goal Setting

As I write this, I’m sitting in a local coffee shop sipping my favorite french roast coffee.  I’m listening to a favorite play list on iTunes and enjoying the bright, beautiful – but really cold – view outside.  It is a perfect setting for my annual task of goal setting.

When I set goals each year, I try to focus on four elements – focus, time range of goal, how it will be measured and what my reward will be when I hit the goal.  Let me highlight each element:

Focus – in my opinion, it is hard to set goals for both myself and my business without establishing the goals for my family – they have to integrate.  As such, I sit down with my wife and establish our goals first as a family.  We sit down again every month during the year to ensure we are still on track plus incorporate any changes since the last meeting.  The goals include spiritual, financial, health and future activities – this is very important as the work/life balance cannot be ignored – especially for those work-aholics amongst us.

Time range – I always set two time ranges – short-term and long-term.  For me, a short-term goal is something I will achieve in one year.  A long-term goal is something I will achieve in the next 3 years.  My wife and I will set goals for the family that will stretch beyond that time window but they will tie directly to our one and 3 year goals.  I then break each of the goals down to actionable tasks with shorter time durations.  This then gets reviewed weekly to see where I stand on the goals and kick myself into overdrive if I’m falling behind.

Measurement – it is very important to put measurements on your goals.  A goal of “I will feel healthy by year end” is very subjective.  Instead, a goal of “I will lose 50 pounds by year end” is measurable and is directly linked to your subjective goal of feeling healthy.  The goals need to be realistic yet provide enough of a stretch to be difficult.  For example, if you are 200 pounds and hope to lose 50 more pounds, that is most likely not realistic – it may be tragic if you do achieve it.  However, if you are 350 pounds, a 50 pound goal is a lot more realistic.  The measurement will help you establish the actionable steps to achieve the goal and rate yourself as you move forward.

Reward – this is a step that most often gets ignored.  I like to set a carrot for my goals.  It can be as simple as a dinner out with my wife or a new briefcase – or it can get elaborate such as a vacation or new car.  The reward needs to fit the goal and the overall goals.  Since I’m a conservative guy by nature – my inner “Dutch-ness” – I’m quite content with a dinner out.  Whatever you decide, including a reward is critical to your success.

Well – my coffee is getting cold – time for a refresher.  I hope this post will help you with your goal setting process or get you involved in the activity to start.  If you would like some help with the process, please don’t hesitate to send me a note.

Happy New Year!


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