In our goal setting process so far:
- We listed our accomplishments over the past year.
- We reviewed this list and noted what strengths and values these accomplishments represent. What lessons did we learn about ourselves and what success patterns did we identify that will carry us forward to continued success?
Now we are going to look forward and set our sights on where we want to be in the future. In Breaking the Rules, Kurt Wright describes a “New Paradigm in Goal Setting”. He recommends that we start with the END in mind. This approach to goal setting with the focus on the long range goals frees you from thinking about limitations and obstacles. (As an example, sometimes when you think about a specific goal you would like to accomplish in the short term, it is easy to start thinking about HOW you are going to do that and then reject it because you don’t know the HOW. This hinders the visioning process.)
Wright recommends that you begin your visioning with ten year goals in these areas:
- Spiritual Goals
- Family Goals
- Career Goals
- Self-Improvement Goals
- Health Goals
- Social Goals
- Financial Goals: how much money is required to support the above goals?
Start thinking about how you want your life to look in ten years within each of these categories. Jot down some notes in each category. You will have more information in some areas than others. Take your time and write down your thoughts over time. What is your vision for yourself, your business, your relationships? Prioritize the categories. Which ones are most important to you? Where do you have the most information right now? This is the starting point.
Now, knowing what you do about yourself and your values, what do you think you can accomplish this year toward these goals? Take one category at a time.This becomes your short term action plan for 2009.
- When do you begin?
- What results do you expect to see?
- How do you track my progress?
- What obstacles might pop up and how do you overcome these?
- What resources do you need, if any, to accomplish these action items?
- When do you expect to complete this action item?
Once you have completed your long range goals and short term action plan, Wright recommends that you begin to track your “success factors”.
What three action items can I take on a regular basis that will have the most impact on my success in reaching my goals?
What specific results should I look for to measure my progress?
What can I do to measure specific results? How do I monitor my success?
Tap into the empowering energy of your proven success and know that you have the ability to reach your long term goals when you use your strengths to make it happen.
In Step One of the goal setting process, we took a close look at what is going well in our personal lives and business, and we created a list of our accomplishments this last year.
What did we achieve this past year? What challenges did we take on?
Once the list of accomplishments was created, we reviewed it and asked ourselves how we felt about all these successes; how we felt about everything we did right this past year. It was an energizing and empowering exercise.
In Step Two of the goal setting process, we are going to review our list again and look for certain patterns of success and lessons learned from our accomplishments. This new exercise will give us tremendous insight into our strengths.
For instance, if I look at part of my list of things I did right last year, I can learn a great deal. I can ascertain what qualities I have that will propel me faster toward my goals.
My list included "extended my running up to 5 miles a day". What does this say about me? It tells me that I have determination and perseverance. How can I apply that to some goals I might create for 2009?
Another item was I "had a wonderful vacation with my family". This item tells me that I have balance in my life, that I love my children and take the time to relax and spend quality time with them. I value this family time. How will I honor this value in my goals for next year?
Look at your own list of accomplishments and feel the energy of everything you did right this past year. What personal qualities were necessary for you to accomplish what you did in 2008? How will you capitalize on this for next year? What lessons do you learn about yourself, what values did you honor, and what strengths did you identify that will make whatever goals you create going forward achievable?
You may discover that you are:
- Resourceful in overcoming obstacles
- Persistent and determined
Once we identify our strengths, whatever they are, we know that these qualities will continue as our "success patterns" in the future and we can rely on these strengths to assist us in 2009 and beyond.
You may also discover that you have some shortcomings. Maybe not everything went exactly as planned. That's just reality and it is a good exercise to recognize these as well. However, the most empowering activity you can do is to focus on the strong qualities you have that have led to your accomplishments and write them down in a purposeful way.
These are YOUR STRENGTHS! These qualities have helped you be successful and will continue to help you to be successful. As we move forward to the next step in goal setting, be mindful and realistic about your strengths. Your focus on these strengths will continue to assist you in meeting your goals.
This post is a first in a series on Goal Setting for 2009 and beyond.
As we approach the end of 2008, it is a worthwhile exercise to reflect on the last year and recognize our successes and accomplishments. While it often is our tendency to focus on where we fall short and how we need to improve, this exercise focuses our energy on what is right. What’s right in your personal life? What is going well in your business and career?
I highly recommend this exercise before you begin to set your goals for 2009 and beyond. Write down all your accomplishments this past year no matter how small.
Here’s an “excerpt” from my list:
- Extended my running up to 5 miles, 3-4 times per week.
- Started blogging
- Joined a non-profit organization as a Board member
- Created and delivered successful workshops for my business
- Achieved my business goals for 4th quarter
- Had a wonderful vacation in the Caribbean with my family
As I begin to write this list, I get more and more energized by what I have accomplished. I am actually surprised by how much I achieved this past year and how much positive energy this generates.The focus on what’s right shifts your energy from your shortcomings to your successes and gives you the confidence to set your goals for 2009. After all, look at everything you did right this year! There is no telling what you can achieve next year if you set your intentions toward it. This exercise is a great first step and foundation for setting your intentions and goals.
What did you achieve this past year? What challenges did you have or did you take on? How do you feel when you look at your list of accomplishments? Are you now ready to take on the challenges of 2009?
A few months ago a long time friend of mine recommended that I read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In this book, Julia describes a program she created for artists to connect with their creativity through a series of exercises. This process has been so successful that people from all different professions have adopted the practice.
One of my favorite exercises is called The Morning Pages. Similar to writing in a journal, Julia asks you to write three longhand pages first thing every morning. These three pages of writing are strictly stream-of consciousness and they are not supposed to sound intelligent or meaningful. You are directed to just write what ever comes to mind and fill three pages. Often my morning pages are filled with a variety of emotions and “stuff”. Perhaps I am feeling negative about something that could be as simple as not wanting to do the laundry or clean the house. Some days, I write down my personal and professional concerns. I address my feelings of self-doubt. I purge them through this process. Sometimes, my thoughts are more profound and as I write, I find solutions to issues I have tossed around in my brain for days.
This writing exercise is a great cleansing. There is no right or wrong way to write. It is not supposed to be a creative exercise. You are directed never to read your pages to anyone else. In fact, the author recommends that you not read your own pages for at least eight weeks. The point here is that this exercise and all the petty, whiny stuff you write down helps you to de-clutter your brain and in doing so, you open the door to your creativity. As you rid yourself of the “stuff” that occupies your attention, it is amazing what happens.
I have a love-hate relationship to the morning pages and yet I still force myself even when I’m not in the mood to write. I stopped writing for a while and this past week I started again. I no sooner finished writing my pages one morning than the flood gates opened with new ideas for my business for next year.
Try it for a while. Make this practice a part of your morning routine and see what happens. De-clutter your brain and unleash your creativity. You will breathe new life into your personal and professional life.