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The Truth About Goal Setting

 

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. To me, they are like a fad. Something that is all the rage for a short period of time, and then gone so fast it’s like they never existed at all. How many times have you heard or even given the half hearted declaration to lose weight, quit smoking or change jobs? That’s not goal setting, that’s wishing.

I believe the best time to make changes is today, no matter what day of the year that is. I don’t wait for tomorrow to start if I have decided to do something. And I certainly wouldn’t wait for a new year to begin goal setting. Once I set my goals, I review the goals on a regular basis, adjust them, adjust the plan and then keep moving forward. Things don’t always work out according to plan (one of my goals for 2007 was to buy one more property – which didn’t happen for many reasons), but I don’t stop making goals; I just adjust and move forward.

I have been reading a great blog by an individual who sets his goals in writing on his blog and checks in regularly with his readers to talk about how he is doing. He’s made some great comments in the last few months on how to set goals, celebrate success and re-evaluate the goals you aren’t achieving. Check it out at How to be an original.

Maybe you’re convinced and you want to get started on your goals, but you just don’t know how to start. To get your goal setting rolling:

  • Start with a fresh page, and write “Life Time Goals” at the top of the page. 
  • Under “Life Time Goals” I write the most important one or two health goals, wealth goals and “ME” goals. For the “ME” goals, I have things like “Become fluent in Spanish”.
  • Underneath the lifetime goals, write “Five Year Goals: Achieve by the end of 2012”. I look at where I am going overall in my life, and figure out what I have to do in the next five years to get there.
  • Finally, on the back of that sheet of paper or on page 2 in my document, I write “Goals for 2008”, and I write in fine detail with dates and measurements, what I am going to do in 2008 that will move me towards achieving my five year goals.

To give you an example, let me expand on my personal development goal of becoming fluent in Spanish. Under my 5 Year Goals, I want to spend at least one month in a Spanish speaking country studying Spanish. To move towards that in 2008, you might think that I plan to take a Spanish class, but I have found that I don’t learn languages well in a class. The best way for me to learn is immerse myself in it. I remember it better and enjoy it more. So, in 2008, I am working on building passive streams of income so that in a few years I can take time off from work and focus on my Spanish language skills. My exact goal is actually split up into the areas that I will earn passive “revenue” from, and how much. As I prefer to keep the exact details private, I will just make up an example. In 2008, I will be earning a minimum of $100/month after tax and expenses from my real estate investments, $100/month off of my cookbook website and cookbook sales, and $100/month off of interest from my bank account. Under each of the above, I have the things I am going to try or I am going to do to achieve those results. It’s only a page long but it gives me direction and I know what I need to do next.

Get the picture? So, if you haven’t already, take a few minutes, sit down and figure out what you want from your life. Then figure out what you will need to do in the next five years to get there. And most importantly,write down what you are going to do in 2008. Be sure to make your goal(s) specific and measurable so you can track your progress!

Here’s some quotes to get you in the mind set for your goal setting:

  • “If what you are doing is not moving you toward your goals, then it’s moving you away from your goals.” Anonymous
  • “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu
  • “Have you noticed that even the busiest people are never too busy to take time to tell you how busy they are?” Bob Talbert
  • “Many a false step was made by standing still.” Fortune Cookie
  • “Have a bias toward action — let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” Indira Gandhi.

Here’s to a wonderful and prosperous 2008.

 Published on February 21, 2008

 

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