Why do you need to set goals?
Because if you don’t have a destination, you can count on never getting there. Goal setting is a way to take charge of every area of your life.
To begin with, look at where you are physically, financially, in your job, your marriage, your family, whatever is a priority for you. Really think about it and write it down.
Why write it down? Trust me, writing it down gives your goals much more power. When you think of something, that’s it – it’s a thought, an idea, a wish even. But when you write them down, goals becomes much more concrete. You can see them, touch them. They exist. Your brain gets it.
So, write down where you are now. Next, decide, really decide, where you want to be. If you live in a 3 bedroom and you want a 4 bedroom, write it down. If you’re single and you want to be married, write it down. If you’re married and you want more passion in your relationship, write it down. If you make $40,000 a year and you want to make $60,000, write it down.
Post your goals somewhere you’ll see them regularly. I posted mine on a bulletin board next to my desk. My son, way more techie than I, has his listed on his laptop and checks them regularly.
Why is seeing them important? Your goals are like a map. You’ve started out on a journey and you need to know where you’re going. It’s important to look at the map regularly to remind yourself where you want to end up and to chart whether or not you’re getting closer to your destination. From time to time, you’ll need to adjust your direction.
Break your goals into manageable, doable, steps. If you want to loose 40 pounds this year, how many pounds is that per month? About three and a half. In six months, you should have lost about 20 pounds. Breaking it down helps you chart your progress and keeps in mind that you have twelve months to get there. If you’re way ahead of schedule, you may be able to accomplish more. If you gain weight after a holiday, you know what you need to do to stay on that twelve month path. Break down your steps into increments you can track.
Give yourself a time table. In our example here, we’re using twelve months. I like to start the year with a new twelve month, three year and five year plan. The first time I did that, I had no idea what to expect or what was realistic. Turned out that I accomplished everything, even the five year plan, all in just six months! What did that show me? I probably wasn’t setting high enough goals and, I was moving way too fast! I determined to slow down and allow myself time to enjoy the journey.
This was powerful. If I hadn’t written down goals, I would not have accomplished as much, would not have planned how to get there, and would not have had milestones to celebrate. Goal setting allows you to take charge of your life rather than simply reacting to what happens to you over time.
Set a date. You need a time table or your goals end up wishes that you never get to. The more often you set and track your goals, the better you’ll know what you can accomplish in a certain time period and the more accurate your strategies become. The second year I set goals, it took eight months to hit my twelve month goal. The third year, I hit my goals at the end of October. I can now pretty accurately judge just how much I will accomplish in a twelve month time frame and I have lots of opportunity to celebrate my victories.
Have fun with your goal setting. Remember, your life is constantly evolving and your path toward your goal will be shifting. Another powerful thing that has happened as I’ve written and paid attention to my goals – if I’m not able to attain something I set out for, I understand why it didn’t happen. Why do I have that insight? Because I’m paying attention.
For example, in 2009 I had a goal to buy, renovate, then sell (flip) eight houses. I did not hit that goal. Why? Changes in the banking industry. Buying took longer than it had the previous four years. Getting the properties closed took longer. My time for contract and rehab stayed the same, but working with lenders was the surprise. If I hadn’t had a plan and wasn’t tracking the results year after year, there’s a lot of valuable business information I would not have been made aware of.
A year will be gone twelve months from now whether you plan for it or not. Since you’re going to live it anyway, why not set goals and in twelve months we’ll all celebrate together how much we achieved.
Have you set your goals?