If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.
– Yogi Berra
It must be the end of the year already, because all the articles and blog posts about setting goals and planning are starting to appear. And guess what: This is yet another one.
Hey, I heard that groan. And I see how you’re beginning to turn the virtual page to find some other article or story that you feel might actually teach you something.
But wait. This could be the most important and even life-changing blog post that you’ll ever read, if it encourages you to take action. Because – as study after study has shown – goal setters are significantly more successful than everyone else. (By the way, that’s not thought to be coincidental.) And yet, if you’re like an estimated 97% of the population, you’re not a goal setter. And that’s too bad, because here’s what goal setters do:
1. Write out specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-sensitive goals for the year ahead,
2. Break them down into tasks and sub-tasks, and plot out on a calendar how they’re going to achieve each one,
3. Revisit their plan on an ongoing basis to measure the progress they’re making, and
4. Review their goals throughout the process to ensure that they’re still the right ones.
Now, if you’re part of that 97% who don’t set goals and plan in this way, why is that? I’m guessing it’s for one or more of the following reasons: a) you don’t see the value in it, b) you feel it’s too much work, or c) you feel you don’t have time for it.
If you don’t see the value in setting goals, please re-read that four-step list above. Do you see how goal-setting is very different from wishing and hoping? It’s the plan that gives you a roadmap for each quarter, each month, and even each week, and not just a wishlist for the future. You may be familiar with the quotation that says, “Goals are dreams with deadlines.” And while that’s true, the goals that we’re discussing are also specific, measurable, achievable and relevant. They’ve passed the test in that they’re both worthy and trackable.
There’s real value in going through a goal setting exercise such as this. When goal setting includes the planning and the auditing elements, it would be nearly impossible to go through the process and not gain significant control over your most important projects in the year ahead. Because of your careful planning, you will accomplish more of your priorities, and the results will be higher quality.
So, yes, it is a lot of work, and it can take a lot of time. There’s no getting around either one of those. But the potential rewards are huge.