I usually try to take the last two weeks of the year off. First, the office is quiet so I’m not missing as much. Second, with the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, you don’t have to take too many days off to get a full two weeks. Third, with all the reviews and year end stuff, I’m burned out! But what I love about those last two weeks, is it lets me recharge and spend some time planning for the next year.
I have set goals every year. They may have been “New Year’s Resolutions” but they were still goals. I only became intentional about this in the last few years. I thought I’d share my process and a few tips on how to achieve your goals.
First, I usually start by reading a book or maybe two on goal setting and achieving your goals. A couple I’d recommend is The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy or Brian Tracy’s Focal Point. These types of books really get you thinking about the power of intention. This is great to do a few weeks before you get started.
Second, I gather up all my information on what I worked on this year. I have my Trello page. I have my Wiki entries. I have my 750words.com entries.
So I tend to end up at a coffee shop early in the morning. I like the mornings and it is my best time to think. I spend the first part of the session reviewing how last year went. I review the goals I set. I review from my Trello boards what I actually completed and what is still in progress. I review from my Wiki posts all the books I’ve read, trips I’ve taken, conferences I’ve attended, and projects I’ve been part of. Then finally take a glance through my morning writing on the 750words.com site to see a bit of what I was thinking over the course of the year. This really puts my year in perspective and helps me see if I was able to hit what I was shooting at or if things got off course for me.
After this, I begin to set my goals. From all the books I’ve read on the subject, there are some things you need to do. First, you need to put your goals in writing. Second, you should set goals in 7 main areas of your life: Career, Finance, Personal Development, Social, Spiritual, Family, and Health. This gives you more of a balanced approach and keeps you from spending too much time in one area of your life.
Goals should be Measurable and Time bound. Some people talk about SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time Bound. That’s a lot of stuff. I find that if it is Measurable then it is specific and actionable. As for realistic? Really? Dream big!
So what would a goal look like? Lets say you want to lose weight. You should put your goals in the positive and you should state them as if you’ve already achieved them. So this goal might look like: By April 1st, 2014 I weigh 170 lbs. Measurable and time bound. Stated in the positive as if I’ve already achieved it.
After writing down the goals I want to achieve, I then need to break them down into smaller chunks. Monthly targets, weekly targets and daily targets. I usually don’t go out too far. If I can make a plan for the next month that is usually enough. I’ll be reviewing these plans as I go so I can make adjustments if I need to. I will write these goals out each morning so I can see where I am and what progress I am making and if I need to adjust or change something.
Another great idea I heard on a podcast the other day. If someone followed you around for 2 weeks, both at work and in your personal life, and then had to answer the question: “What 3 values do you think Steve tries to embody every day?”. What would someone say? Maybe the idea of selecting a couple of key values, defining them clearly, then deciding how you will live those values to other people in your work and personal life would be a great way to look at next year. What could you do each day to increase the likelihood that someone would say you embody those values? Friendship, Patience, Leadership, Respect, Joy, Humor, Faith, Integrity, Loyalty, Accountability, etc… What would you want someone to say about you? How would you define the values you would pick in simple terms? What would you do every day to embody them?
I’m looking forward to an exciting 2014!