Monday, October 25, 2010

The Essential Step to Success in ANY area: Setting Goals

I've always set goals. Whether I realized I was "setting" them or not, I've always had something to stride toward. In my developmental years, they always seemed to have something to do with school. Finish high school to get to college, finish college to get to grad school, finish grad school to get a job. But there's a trend here:  the goals were easy to define, mostly because someone else set them for me. Don't misunderstand, I'm glad someone helped me succeed in school by setting goals for me. But goal setting itself was a skill I had to learn.

The basics

What is a Goal?

Goals are the accomplishment you're aiming toward. Goals are characterized by:
  • S = Specificity
  • M = Measurability
  • A = Attainability
  • R = Realistic yet Challenging
  • T = Time Constraints
Reflecting back, during the times in life when I did not have a specific goal... I felt like I was aimless. I wasn't wrong. I needed to sit down and articulate what I was planning on doing with my days.

This year, Russ and I set goals related to our health. I'm happy to say that we've had to re-do them going on 3 times... because we keep surprising ourselves, by ACHIEVING them! Had we not sat down and written them out, we would never have realized the accomplishment. Therefore,

The Benefits of Setting Goals
  • You can see where you're going, where you've been, and how long it took you to get there
  • Great for your mojo! It feels good to accomplish something. 
  • Keeps you on track
  • Gives you a "raison d'etre" (reason for being)
  • Bragging rights!

I won't ignore the downside: What if you don't hit your goal? Won't this damage your ego? Well, yes and no... yes, if you let it. But if you choose to let it teach you something about yourself, including causing you to adjust it to something slightly more realistic, or makes you even more determined, then it is a win.

My Challenge to You

  • Set a goal
  • Write it down
  • Post it somewhere you see it everyday
  • Tell someone else about it
  • Have them help by keeping you accountable (be willing to take the kick in the pants from them)
  • Take systematic measurements toward it (map your progress)

Do it now, and you'll be 2+ months in by New Years!

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