Monday, January 4, 2010

5 Steps to Setting Goals in 2010

Welcome 2010!  It is in fact January of a brand spank'n new year and hopefully you have been as excited to make resolutions as I have.  You have no idea how lucky you are. I haven't made any resolutions.  Nope, not one.  I do have a few goals to work towards, but no resolutions.

I am sure you are wondering what the difference is.  Most people would consider them the same.  In my book they aren't.  Resolutions are things we plan to do, usually in the new year.  For example, "I resolve to eat better," or "I will walk the dog every day."  These things are worthy ideas, but have no plan.  A goal has a plan.  For example, "I will take a class in February at the local community college to learn to eat better." Another example is, "I will walk the dog after dinner every night with my friend Bob."

Goals are specific enough that we have the chance to really do something about them. Resolutions are pie in the sky ideas, goals have a way to achieve them.

So today I would like to help you set a goal.  It won't be too painful, I won't call your mom or spouse to tell them your dark secrets.  I just want you to find one thing to work on.

Steps to setting a goal:
1) Figure out what you want to change.
2) Determine why you want to change it.
3) Determine the steps to make change happen.
4) Assign a time to complete this goal.
5) Find accountability for your goal. 

When I set a goal the first step is always figuring out the one thing that isn't working for me in my life.  (All right, smarty pants, of course there are multiple things that aren't working in my life, but I just pick one at a time.)  I look at the thing which makes me uncomfortable and decide to either let it stay "as-is" or change it.  So the first step is to identify what you want to change.

The next step is to think about why you want to change it.  If you are changing things because someone else thinks it would be a good idea or because you think it is probably/likely/maybe a good idea, you are doomed. Change comes from desire. I'll admit it can also come from freak experiences and outside influences, but not usually, and not when setting goals. When you are working on the goal you need to know why you are putting in the hard work.  So come up with your "why."

Determine the steps involved with the goal.  Do you need to gather more information? Then sign up for a class.  Do you need help? Then get a trainer.  Do you need equipment? Then make a plan for getting it.

I heard someone once say a goal without a plan is just a wish.  Things like, "Gee I wish I was thinner," or "Gee, I wish I was rich," are not going to get you very far.  Give your goal teeth, and create a plan.

The next part of goal making is to assign a time to the plan.  You will take the class in January, you will walk the dog after dinner daily, you will monitor your calories in a notebook after each meal starting get the idea.  I heard a great quote once, "The road to hell is paved with perfect intentions."  If you don't have a specific time to complete your plan it will only ever be an intention, and worse yet, it will be an intention you feel guilty about when you don't do it.

The last part of goal making is accountability.  We all need it, but the form it takes can be different for everyone.  Some people tell a friend or spouse.  Some write it down and post it on the mirror to see each day.  Some people blog about it, or otherwise put it out to the universe.  I don't like to do those things, for me they create expectations from others and guilt if I don't finish the goal.  I like to plan out my goals and make myself the accountable party by adding it to my calendar.  For me, if it is on my calendar it will get done.

So to recap, goals are good, make some.  Get moving, you can do it!

In the blogs you will see over the next few days/weeks you will see some ideas about organizational goals.  If you have any questions or topics you would like me to blog about, let me know.  I may not know the answer but I will do my best to help you out.

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