At this time of the year, as we begin a New Year, there is always a lot of discussion around about New Year’s Resolutions and Goal Writing.
And the start of a New Year is as good a time as any to review your current Goals and to set new ones.
But it doesn’t have to be the start of a New Year for you to set new goals. You don’t need to wait for the end of one year, or the beginning of another, before you begin to update your goals list.
Goals can be set at any time. And they become effective from the moment they are created, provided you do just that…you create them.
And create them well.
Because a poorly created goal becomes just a wish, or even worse, an idea only….
And as a wishes, or ideas, they are less likely to be seen through, less likely to be acted upon and less likely to be of inspiration than would a fully fledged written down, thought out and crafted goal.
So, what’s the best way of going about setting goals?
Firstly, I’d like to say, there’s no “best” way.
But there needs to be some way.
There needs to be some purpose, or definition, to the task of setting goals.
A goal, on its own, can be created at any time. Any time.
Any time at all.
An idea that just pops into your head can be acted upon, categorized, and remembered to become of such worth, such intent. At any time.
So never discount or discard a thought or inspiration just because you aren’t officially at “goal-setting time”.
Having said that though, I think allocating and marking off a specific time duration in advance, and keeping that “appointment” with yourself, is a great way to go about setting goals.
So what do *you* do David?
This is how I go about setting goals. It’s my way of doing it. It’s not *the* way, but it is a good way none the less.
Firstly, I tell myself that I need to set my goals.
I need to set myself the task of setting goals.
Once I’m comfortable with that action requirement, I then need to choose myself a day to do it. And a time of day.
It’s kind of like making a doctors appointment. You know you need to go see the doctor, so you make the decision. Then you think to yourself, what would be the best day for me to see the doctor? And would mornings or afternoons work best for me?
Allocating goal setting time is much the same.
I tend to leave my goal setting time open ended, and I’ll explain why shortly.
So I don’t back up another task, like lawn mowing, or dinner cooking, right on top of the goal setting.
In this instance then, I feel that mornings after breakfast, is as good a time as any for me to be sitting down and setting goals.
Goals, by definition, need to be written down.
This is a Golden Rule.
A goal must be written down to truly be a goal. Otherwise it really is a wish. A dream. An idea. A concept.
So you need pen and paper. Or something to record your goals.
I tend to use pen and paper. I like to scribble. I like to write them. I like to expand on them.
I like using system cards. 3×5 system cards.
The reason being, as I write, I tend to want to categorise my goals. So I tend to jump around a bit.
System cards allow me to write down a goal, or a plan, and then expand upon it by adding another thought to another card, and then arranging those plans and thoughts into their appropriate positions within a framework of other plans, thoughts and goals, all written down.
At the end of my goal setting session, I then have a stack of 3×5 system cards in a generalized order that then becomes my list of goals.
I like to use cards of different and many colours, though I’m not regimental in terms of sticking to the colours.
I just like to use a different colour for a different idea, or sub-goal, if you would call it that.
Choose a nice place to write your goals
Create a comfortable environment.
You have a purpose, so your environment needs to facilitate that purpose.
Some choose a quiet room.
Others a comfortable chair.
Some prefer an inspirational view.
Others prefer no view. A view to them is a distraction.
Work with what’s best for you.
For me, I like to be looking outdoors.
Sometimes at a desk. Sometimes in a comfortable chair. It’s horses for courses.
This week I chose the kitchen bench at the farm.
Start with a list of categories.
The best way to begin a goal setting session is to start with a list of categories.
I’ll write a few categories on a few different 3×5 cards, just as headings, just to get the thought juices going.
Once I’ve got a list started, then I’ll return to one of those categories, and get started in earnest on the goals list for that category.
Your list of categories does not need to be complete before you start writing goals.
It can be a list of one. Or two. It just needs to be a category.
Then you can start expanding on that category title.
Here’s the list of categories that I created this week…
Books to read.
Write a book.
Now I didn’t create the whole list holus bolus first up.
I think I started with Family, travel, health and UPE…
And as I worked on each category, I created others and jumped around, from idea to idea, card to card, new card to old card…
Do you try to block out all other non-goal thoughts while you’re setting goals?
Sometimes I do. Sometimes I get so focused on the task of goal setting, it’s like I’m driving at high speed down a straight one-lane highway…
At other times, and this is what happened this time, because I had another creative task to work on, I ran that task in tandem, with it’s own set of system cards as well.
So I jumped from goal setting across to that task and back as the creative juices flowed.
[I’m happy to say both tasks, the goal-setting and the other task, advanced well using this method this week….but it’s not always the case]
For some people working on two things at once may be a difficult concept. If it is for you, then I’d stick to just straight goal setting.
How long should goal setting take?
You’ll know when it’s time to wrap it up.
But like I said before, you don’t want to programme an end time, with another task to follow right on top.
I find it’s best just to let the time for goal setting to run its course..
So I’ve got my list of goals David, what now?
The next thing you need to do is allocate a date for completion to each goal.
Because a goal without a date attached is only a dream.
It’s not a mission.
Add a date. Set a date. Make it a true goal. Make it a mission.
Once you’ve assigned your completion dates, then you can go about prioritising your tasks for each goal, and organising which tasks you’ll do when.
Some goals may have distant completion dates, but need action taken sooner rather than later.
Other goals may be short term, but can be put aside for a short while to be begun at a time closer to their completion date.
This is where using the system cards allows us to “lay out” our plans and create our time line.
It’s important at this point to look at your time line, and look for balance.
Your goal list should be a balanced mixture of short term, medium term and longer term goals.
With an emphasis on shorter term.
For two reasons.
A list lacking in short term goals never gets started. It gets put off. And put off.
Distant goals become dreams, and then ideas, sadly. Someday ideas.
Someday is not a great date to complete a goal. It’s an even lousier day to start a goal.
The second reason for having short-term goals is it creates some success momentum early in the process of achieving goals.
Weight loss goals, finance goals, and fitness goals, though longer term, can be broken down into shorter term accomplishments to be celebrated along the way, along the journey…
It sounds complicated David
If goal setting were easy everybody would do it.
But most people don’t.
And there’s the secret. Because it’s been proven that goal setters are higher achievers than those who do not set goals.
And that’s your choice.
So if you want to be successful, or more successful, you need to set goals.
Do I really need goals?
No one really needs goals.
But goals, and having goals, adds purpose.
So you work it out….if you want purpose in your life, in your work life, in your family life, in your health, and in your fitness, and in your finances, do you think having goals is maybe a good idea?
So when should I start setting goals?
How about today?
How about now….
Having goals, and a purpose and a mission are all part of The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.
Email me: david@theUPE.com
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