Posted by Curtis | Posted in Business Strategy, Goals | Posted on 08-12-2009
It’s about that time… to start planning for the next year.
2010 already! Can you believe it? That date sounded so futuristic when I was young and now here it is. Time truly does fly and that’s why we want to plan ahead – so that we can make the best use of our time.
One of the most important things you can do in your life is to figure out what you are aiming towards. I do believe that the journey is more important than the actual destination, but an aimless journey is fruitless and leads to frustration.
Without a destination, we make the journey much harder for ourselves. Imagine that your life is like driving in your car. If you have no destination and no time limits, you will just end up driving around lost ALL THE TIME. Eventually you won’t want to drive at all because you have no place to go and no set time to be there. Humans are motivated by moving towards something specific, so we want to make sure we decide on where we want to go as soon as possible.
That is the point of creating goals. To give ourselves a solid time specific destination on the road map of life so that we can enjoy the journey and reap the rewards of the effort we put out. You’ve probably been told to set goals for yourself a million times and sometimes when a word is used a lot it can lose it’s value. Well, forget your past beliefs. Let’s start with a clean slate. It’s 2010 – there is no better time than right now to start doing things differently for yourself!
When creating goals, there are several things I like to do to make them more effective.
First, decide who you want to be.
I like to envision my ideal day. Decide what kind of person you want to be and see it in your minds eye. You can choose to be anything you want, so what do you want to be? What activities will you do throughout your days? Who do you want to correspond with? How will people respond to you? When people describe you, what will they say? What will your life style be like? What will you being doing on a daily basis?
Second, create S.M.A.R.T. goals
SMART is a great acronym for creating goals that are effective. It is the “smart” way to write your goals.
S – Specific. The more specific your goal is, the greater chance you have of achieving it. Just like when you are driving your car, if you have a specific address, you are much more likely to reach your destination than if you just know the town it’s in. For example a goal like “I want to lose weight” is not specific and doesn’t hold much power for you. However, a goal like “Lose 1 pound per week by working out at the local gym for 1 hour 4 times per week and decreasing my daily calorie input by 500 calories” is much more specific and gives you much more power to actually accomplish the goal.
M – Measurable. This is important as well. If you can’t measure something than how will you know if you are making any progress with it? For example, how would you know your exercise program was working if you couldn’t weigh yourself or see yourself in the mirror. There has to be a way to measure your progress for each goal that you set.
A – Attainable. It is important that you think big. Michelangelo said” The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we hit it.” I am all about thinking as big as we can. But you also don’t want to set yourself up for failure. Setting a goal to make a million dollars in the next 10 minutes might be completely unattainable for most of us. So set goals that you actually believe you can reach. You want to stretch yourself and aim high, but you also want to believe that you can acutally do it. A good way to do this is to set up long term big goals and then chunk those down into smaller shorter term goals. This will help you believe that you can achieve it.
R – realistic. This goes along with attainable. The point is not to set yourself up for failure. A goal to be able to jump 100 feet in the air may be realistic if you are spiderman, but not so much if you are human that must obey the laws of gravity. Just be realistic with your goals and you’ll be ok.
T – Timely. Boxing your goal within a time frame gives something even more specific to work towards. It also helps you plan your daily tasks and priorities as well. One of the keys to getting things done is proper project management and setting yourself a time frame to work within is an important part of that.
So, when we have goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely, we are separate ourselves from pack and push ourselves in the top 1% of high achievers. That’s right, only 1% of people actually take these steps to map out their lives and the ones that do end up seeing results far above the people that don’t.
Third, write it down.
This seems obvious, but it is still important to mention. You have got to write down your goals. For one, when you write them down it builds a stronger neural connection with them and second you want to have them available to look at whenever you want.
Fourth, make it fun.
This doesn’t have to be a boring task. I love creating goals that I know will shape my whole life. That’s exciting. You can also be creative with it. Use different colored pens or fonts, add pictures, add audio – whatever you want to make it more fun. Go for it!
Fifth, review it on a regular basis.
This is key. Many people (especially around the new year) write a bunch of goals and resolutions and then shove them a drawer never to be seen again until next new years. I think we are all guilty of that some time in our lives. Set up a system that you can review your goals. Make sure they are still in line with what you want. I have a weekly ritual that I do every Sunday called the Weekly Review. I review all my goals and then from there I plan out my week. This way my daily and weekly tasks are planned based on my goals. This will help to ensure that you are doing the important things first.
Life is always moving forward whether we like it or not. We don’t have the option of pulling over to the side or pressing the pause button. By deciding who you want to be, setting yourself smart goals, and reviewing them on a regular basis you gain power over the direction of your life. You are able to take control and shape your life to how you want it.
Start now and let’s not only make 2010 a monumental year, but let’s set it up so that it begins a pattern of success that lasts way beyond 2010. You are the captain of the your ship. Carpe diem!