Goal setting is a common subject of every blog and newsletter this time of the year. All experts agree you must write down your goals in order to make positive changes happen in life. The widely used SMART acronym instructs you to write goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. This makes sense. However, in my experience in working as an executive coach, two things trip people up: 1) discerning which goals are most important, and 2) following through and executing to completion.
Here is a 3 step approach to help you think through your goals and mobilize yourself for success:
1. Analyze Your Capacity
Take an inventory, by making a list, of your gifts/talents, strengths and weaknesses. Then ask a few people who know you well, both personally and professionally, to provide a reality check. Ask yourself and others such questions as these:
- What am I best at? (natural strengths)*
- How do my strengths/weaknesses match up to the job I have?
- What do I most need to delegate? (will never be my strengths)
- What gets in the way of my success? (derailers)
- What skill should I develop this year? (would most increase my capacity)
- What habit do I need to end and/or start? (old habit no longer serves me, new habit that would accelerate my efforts)
- To go to the next level in my leadership and career, what is the one thing I must improve, remodel or transform this year?
2. Clarify Outcomes
What are the most important business and personal objectives to you in 2012? After you write down your priorities, ask yourself: Really? Then pare it down to only the ones you are truly committed to achieving. Here are some domains you could cover:
- Professional growth
- Emotional awareness
- Home improvements
- Fun, Social and Adventure
- Spiritual connection
3. Strategize & Set Up Support
Once you have thoroughly examined your capacity and desired outcomes, the challenge is to create a workable plan so you can accomplish your desired outcomes. I recommend you draft an action plan for every major goal. A good strategy is grounded in the following factors:
- Detailed Action Plan – for the first quarter
- Time needed to devote to this goal each week
- Skills needed for success
- Funding required
- Milestones – results along the way
- Key Measures – to track progress
- Support – technical and advisory
- Accountability – to hold your feet to the fire
- Regular Review – have a plan for how often to review results and with whom
It is no surprise that more than 60% of people do not achieve their goals each year. But, there is hope! After working with leaders for the past 25 years, I am convinced that if you take the time to do some thoughtful planning and set up sufficient support, you will make excellent progress. Proverbs 11:14 tells us, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
Wishing you a great year!