A guide to an amazing 2012!

Last year I discovered my staff had not learned goal setting in school. To my shock, this appears to be the norm! (which gets into another issue with our education system, but I digress).

Thirsty for new tools that helped them, everyone embraced the new knowledge and picked it up quickly. And, of course, results began to happen.

Tip: our approach included happiness in every area of life – not just work. This made a big difference to the team. Most comments sounded like this: “This is a view of success I like! Most of the time it’s just about money & more stuff.”

The steps.
Here are the steps I take:

Reflect on what really matters most to me
Determine where I am now
Where would I like to be?
Identify the gaps
Make plans. Plans with deadlines.
Tactical support: the details needed to get there
Track: progress

Set aside time to plan

Set aside quiet time to think, without distractions. I take December downtime every year to reflect on the past year, and decide what I’d like next year to bring.

What matters most: the magic element of achieving

Most goal setting starts with identifying what matters most to you. What are the top five values dear to you? For example: freedom? loyalty? family? Write them all down. Then identify the top five. Rank them.

This reveals what drives your behavior. And that will drive your achievement.

NOTE: as an employer, I feel very strongly that this step is private. It only works with self honesty, which cannot be accomplished if you have to share it with your boss. The accountability I required was honesty that the step was completed. I did not look at their journals.

Where are you today?

After defining your values, look at your current state of life. Using a holistic view, look at: personal accomplishment, physical health, mental & emotional well being, relationships, contribution, financial health and joy.

Personal accomplishment: includes work, learning, personal traits and hobbies
Physical health: health, fitness, sleeping patterns, eliminating bad habits
Mental/emotional well being: spiritual peace, happiness, passion for life
Relationships: romance, family, friendships and colleagues
Contribution: whatever it means to you – helping others, community, giving back.
Financial: being financially stable, able to fund the life you want
Joy: what makes your heart sing? hobbies, pampering, the beach, whatever.

Where would you like to be?

Here is the FUN part! IMAGINE. Imagine if anything were possible, what would your life look like in each of these areas? Take a piece of paper for each area and title the page. Then write down everything you can think of to describe the perfect life in each area. Dare to dream. Forget the present – this is about the future. Your future. Write a list, draw pictures, paste photos from magazines – it doesn’t matter how. Just do it.

Identify the gaps.

For each area, identify the difference between today and tomorrow. This difference is your goal.

Define a plan. With a deadline.

Take the #1 goal in each area, and list it on the top of each piece of paper. Each one should be specific and measurable. For example: “I will have $4,500 of credit card debt paid off.” or “I will take a two week vacation in New York City.” Now add a date.

The details of getting there.

Now think about all the small tasks between today and completion. Take one goal at a time. List each one below the goal, and the order you think they should be done in. Working back from your deadline, add completion dates for each task. Add them to your calendar. This is your plan.

Tracking your progress.

Every morning and evening, take a look at what tasks lie ahead for the day and week. Record completion for each one. Every week, take a look at how much was done, and which tasks need to be added to the following week. We’ve got a handy one page download to help.

Reap the rewards & enjoy!
Staying on task, you will soon see your ideal life realized. Enjoy the accomplishment!

-Published December 21st, 2011

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