We have come to the end of 2008 and are looking forward to
2009. We don't know what opportunities and obstacles
lie ahead. Looking back at my 2008 goals, I realize that I
have achieved some goals, moved forward on some and
abandoned others. This is normal. We reach some goals each
year but usually don't reach all goals each year.
This raises two questions.
1. Why bother setting goals if there is no guarantee that I
will reach them?
2. Is there a foolproof method for setting and reaching
Definitely, we need to set goals. Your goals must be written
down. You need to set goals so that you can see if you are
making progress towards your goals, or not. If you don't
reach a goal then it does not mean that you have failed. I
don't reach all of my goals for manifold reasons. However,
there is no way to evaluate progress without a written goal
to measure against. Written goals give you a target to work
towards but leave room for mid-course directions.
There is no foolproof method for setting goals. I have tried
many systems over the years. You will find the incredibly
burdensome and detailed systems that make you set 15
short-term, medium-term and long-term goals in each category
of your life such as financial, health, family, and
spiritual realms. I lose interest after an hour of goal
setting with these systems. On the other end of the spectrum
you find systems that state "Live Goal-Free, set themes and
not specific goals". Yeah, right!! How can you measure
progress if you don't have a goal to measure against?
What works for me is to find a balance between setting goals
each year and milestones for each quarter of each year to
see how much progress I am making without too much detail. I
believe that you can't make realistic plans in each area of
your life for more than a few months into the future. Why
burn brain cells to work out the details of a plan to reach
a goal that is a year or more in the future?
Therefore, now is the best time to set your goals for 2009.
Write down your goals and a few points for each goal.
1. Why do you want to reach this goal? What
will it mean to you to reach this goal?
2. What are potential challenges or
obstacles that can impact you from reaching this goal?
3. What is likely to be the time and money
investment required to reach this goal?
4. What will you not be able to do, in
order to reach this goal. For example, I want to spend more
time at Boy Scouts with my son in 2009. This means that I
will have less time to write and read. What will you not be
able to do, if you work towards each of your goals?
5. What are some action steps that you can
take this week and work towards each goal?
Now that you have your goals written down (I recommend that
you limit your goals to no more than 2 pages), keep a copy
of your goals handy. Put them on your desk, or on your wall
so that you see your goals from time to time. You have a
better chance of reaching your goals if you remind yourself
of your goals during the year.
During the summer of 2009 - look over your goals. How are
you progressing towards them? And in December 2009 review
your goals again so that you have the additional experience
to set goals for 2010.
Good luck as you work on reaching your goals in 2009. I am
working towards mine.