Happy Holidays! I hope life is treating you well. This is my favorite time of the year. I love the Christmas traditions and spending time with my family. I also enjoy a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s the time of the year when I do a lot of thinking and soul-searching. I think about the previous year. What went well? What didn’t go well? I think about next year. What do I want to accomplish?
Then I sent my goals.
Today, I’m going to share my process for goal-setting. Hopefully, there will be a something in here that will help you achieve your goals in 2014.
A Time of Reflection
Before I set my goals, I reflect on the previous year. I review my goals to see what went well and what didn’t go well. If you like sports, it’s kind of like watching “the tape” after a game. It helps clarify what happened so you can adjust course as needed.
If I accomplished a goal, I think about what made it possible. Was it hard work? Was it luck? If I didn’t accomplish a goal, I find out why. Was it unrealistic? Did I try hard enough? Wasn’t it important to me?
After reflecting on last year’s goals, I found that I accomplished about 50% of them. Ughhh!! There’s nothing I hate more than putting a big “X” next to a goal I didn’t accomplish. Overall, I’m grateful for what I did accomplish and I’ll talk more about it in my Progress Report in January. However, why didn’t I achieve half my goals?
After reviewing the goals I didn’t achieve, I found two reasons why I didn’t achieve them.
1) The goal was unrealistic. My expectations for the desired outcome within the specified timeframe exceeded what was actually possible.
2) The goal wasn’t important to me. I lost motivation to pursue the goal because it wasn’t meaningful enough.
I’m somewhat-OK with the “unrealistic” factor. Although it’s disappointing to fall short on a goal, at least I know I’m pushing myself. I probably just need more time to accomplish the goal. I’ll just extend the deadline. Problem solved!
The “importance” factor is what bothers me. I set my goals at the beginning of the year with good intent (like we all do). However, some hung over my head all year because I wasn’t motivated enough to achieve them. I didn’t have a strong enough “why.” As a result, I felt a constant feeling of discontent when reviewing these goals throughout the year. Looking back, I realize I shouldn’t have set them in the first place.
How do I avoid this going forward?
The Two Questions
Before I set a goal for next year, I’m going to ask myself these two questions:
1) What is the purpose of this goal?
2) Why is this important to me?
This will help me “buy-in” to the goal. It will also filter out the goals that don’t carry much weight with me. This will ensure the goals I set are meaningful enough to pursue. In the end, it will save me a lot of time and frustration. It will also help clarify my direction and purpose.
One fascinating thing I discovered throughout this process was that work ethic was never a factor for not achieving a goal. If I wanted something bad enough – I got it – as long as I had a realistic deadline. Achieving the goal was entirely up to me.
How about you? How’s goal-setting going for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.
Have a wonderful holiday! Cheers!
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Update: In January, I’ll be launching the Life Planning Kit: Build, Believe, Become to help you live with more passion and purpose. Subscribe for updates below and stay tuned.