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Everything I Know About Goal-Setting

If you're like me, you are probably looking forward to the new year as an opportunity to evaluate your life and make some new goals. I love thinking about my goals and what I want to accomplish. I don't think it's really necessary to write an in-depth article about setting goals because there's already so much good information out there. I believe one of the best ways to learn is by finding good role models and following them. 

A great guide to setting goals that actually motivate you to achieve them! (Photo courtesy of Rekita Nicole)

A great guide to setting goals that actually motivate you to achieve them! (Photo courtesy of Rekita Nicole)

These are my favorite goal-setting role models and resources:

1. Zen Habits A Simple Guide to Setting and Achieving Your Life Goals
2. Harvard Business Review Making Your Work Resolutions Stick
3. The Happy Manager Elementary Goal Setting - Make It Up and Make it Happen!
4. Stephen R. Covey Start Small with Goal Setting

Here's a copy of Stephen R. Covey's instructions from several years ago.

Start Small with Your Resolutions for 2010
The start of a New Year is always special. There is a feeling of renewal as we look to a new year, a new beginning and there is a sense of excitement for making changes or adopting new habits. However, do you ever find yourself making New Year’s resolutions only to abandon them? If you do, you are not alone.
 I want you to be successful at one goal, only one goal this year—and that is accomplishing one small goal you know you can accomplish. I say start small so you can build the confidence and strength to do more. It’s all about taking what I call “baby steps.” Start small, keep at it, and stay consistent until you’re ready pick up the pace.
 I also suggest that you work on your goal on a weekly basis. For instance, if you are setting a goal to reduce your sugar intake, set a goal to reduce the number of sugar-rich drinks you consume during the week. If you are in the habit of drinking soda pop everyday or several times a week, decide at the beginning of the week how many drinks you will reduce in your diet. If you go too fast and eliminate all your drinks, you may just fail at it because you are not emotionally, mentally or physically prepared to do so. So start small. Make a promise and keep it…make a promise and keep it. And soon you will enlarge your strength, confidence and capabilities to discipline yourself to achieve other goals.
 Many years ago, I went on a sugar fast with a group of students. You can’t believe how difficult it was at first but as we achieved small victories, our will power and passion for achieving our goal became stronger and stronger. We actually found strength in saying “no” to sugar because we felt an inner strength, a strength that inspired us to grow our confidence and abilities to grow our character, our sense of who we wanted to be.
 As you set your small goal, you may want to enlist the help of someone close to you. It’s important to have some support, encouragement and a system of accountability. You might even invite this person to set a small goal that you can encourage them on. Work together and create synergy to help each other.
 I wish you well on your journey in 2010. You have the potential for greatness in you! Go for it! Start small. Make a promise and keep it.

I love that. I like hearing from Stephen R. Covey and other people who really know how to achieve their goals. These people accomplish major things and they all recommend the same stuff:

  • Set short-term and long-term goals
  • Make little, tiny "baby steps" to help you reach your goals
  • Set goals based on your priorities
  • Set less goals - 1 or 2 at a time, MAX
  • Work on your goals weekly
  • Conduct weekly reviews to evaluate your progress
  • Tell people about your goals - be accountable
  • Reward yourself for every milestone you reach
  • Take time to relax and rejuvenate
  • If you get off track, get right back on!

So, if you're ready to set some goals, here's what you do:

  1. Get out a real pen and a real piece of paper.
  2. Write down everything you accomplished in the last year, big and small.
  3. Write down everything you would like to accomplish in the next year, big and small.
  4. Write down one goal you would like to focus on right now.
  5. Write down one thing you can do this week to get you closer to that goal.
  6. Share your goal with someone and ask them to hold you accountable.

I'll be sharing my own goals here next week!