Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Goal setting strategies

Goal setting is one area that I believe many people want to do, but they become so overwhelmed with the process that they never follow through. Or, they do end up setting some goals but they are anemic ones that don't inspire action and accomplishment.

Setting goals isn't something that needs to be very complicated. As you begin the process of goal setting, here are some preliminary considerations:
  1. set up long, medium, and short-term goals. Think 10 years or more for long-term goals. 5 years for medium-term goals. And 1 year or less for short-term goals.
  2. formulate just a few big hairy audacious goals (2-3) for each area that you can get excited about accomplishing.
  3. create small, logical action steps for each of these few goals, then put these together as an action plan on your calendar.
You may have heard about using the acronym S.M.A.R.T. in order to establish effective goals. SMART stands for:
  • Specific. Do you know exactly what you want to accomplish with all the details?
  • Measurable. Are you able to assess your progress?
  • Attainable. Is your goal within reach given your current situation?
  • Relevant. Is your goal relevant towards your purpose in life?
  • Time-bound. What is the deadline for completing your goal?
Over at, Tristan Loo writes the following on SMART goals:
Create Specific Goals

Jack Canfield in his book, The Success Principles, states that "Vague goals produce vague results." There is no place in your life for vague goals. Your subconscious mind will fulfill whatever it focuses on and if your goals are ambiguous or incomplete, then you will achieve results that are also ambiguous or incomplete. You want to make your goal as detailed as possible in order to achieve the specific results that you desire. A specific goal is one that is clearly defined in such a way that anyone could come by and understand what you intend to accomplish. Your goal should contain a detailed description of what you want to accomplish; when you want to accomplish it by; and the action(s) you will take to accomplish it.

Bad example: "I want to write a book."

Good example: "I want to write a book on time management that is at least 200 pages in length and have it done by December 16th. I'll commit to writing at least 2 pages every workday until I reach completion."
Making major goals even more simplistic

Blogger Chris Brogan advocates using 3 simple words to focus your goals. In a 2009 post on setting three word goals, Brogan writes:
Set Three Words as Goals for 2009

If you want to try the process, it works something like this: think of how you want to be successful in 2009. Then, try to think in even broader terms. Extrapolate on the broader terms, and find one word to hang the idea on.

Meaning, don't think as much "I want to lose 50 pounds and get back into my high school pants." Try thinking "Fitness means I'll be able to cover more ground." From there, you can say "ground" might be your word. And then, when you look at that as a word, you see how it can open you up to even more meanings. "Ground" can remind you to get fit so you can cover more ground. It can mean to be "grounded," like someone who feels calm and at rest.

Look for three words that will help you frame your challenges and opportunities for 2009. Don't think about where you are this exact moment. If you're without a job, setting a goal in 09 to get a job might not be very useful. Once you've got the job, then what? Instead, you could think about setting the goal of "Alignment," where you ask yourself, "does this fit with everything else I intend for myself in this year?"

Try setting your three words far out on the horizon, but such that they can lead you to your goals every day. Meaning, can you use the same word to get you started, but have it still be relevant when you're almost at the big goal.
When setting your long, medium, and short-term goals, always remember to frame these goals in the context of your life mission. I have blogged extensively on life mission, which you can read about here.

When you get specific and write down your mission and major life goals, you will join the small majority of the population that have done so. Studies show that only 3% of the American population set goals consistently, and are the wealthiest people in the country. I don't know about you, but that's the group I want to be a part of!

So, have you established long, medium, short-term goals that are SMART, big hairy audacious, and yet simple enough that you can remember? Why or why not?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks. This is a very good guide on setting goals the right away.

    Just want to add a resource to compliment your post here. It's a goal setting app called GoalsOnTrack and it has worked very well for me. It saves me a lot of time in keeping track of my goals and most importantly it helps me better organize my daily todos towards achieving my goals.