*This article originally appeared in the President’s Message 2012.
Let me start by saying Happy Holidays to Annex’s clients, consultants and suppliers. Our team sincerely thanks you for a fantastic year.
Calendar year end is a great time to reflect on the year that was and to plan the next 12 months. So let’s talk about setting goals for 2014. Our discussion will focus on setting personal goals but is also applicable to setting company goals.
If I’m about to lose you, don’t stop reading yet. You need to know that people who set goals are more successful than those who don’t. And you also need to know that people who write down their goals are even more successful. Heard this before but not sure you believe it? Then check out a previous newsletter article I wrote that references a famous Harvard study. Follow the link now and read the short section called ‘Tip #1: Set Goals’. Then come back! http://annexgroup.com/articles/2009q2/presidents-message/
OK, so now you’ve seen evidence supporting the power of defined goals. With that assumption, here is a 9 step process for goal setting.
Step 1: Find a quiet place
Focus and concentration are required, so schedule some time in your favourite ‘thinking’ place.
Step 2: Understand the ground rules
First, remember the famous SMART acronym. Each goal should be:
In other words, ‘Lose weight’ is not a good goal. ‘Lose 20 pounds’ is better. ‘I will weigh 180 pounds on July 1, 2014’ is best. For more details on SMART goals, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria.
Second, don’t overdo it. It is easy to get carried away and create too many goals. Don’t set yourself up for failure before you begin.
Step 3: Define goals
Think about what must happen in the next 12 months to make you totally satisfied on Dec. 31, 2014 that you had a great year. I have read a lot of books on success and living a great life (email me for my Top 100 Recommended Books list). Most of the ‘success’ books talk about creating personal goals in the same seven main areas of life:
- Health and fitness
- Business and career
Create 2-3 goals per area for the year. This will ensure your life is balanced. The examples below may jumpstart your thinking process:
- Personal – I will meditate twice per week. I will read one personal development book per month.
- Health and fitness – I will exercise 150 times in 2014. I will hire a personal trainer by Jan. 31, 2014 to develop a workout plan for me. I will hire a certified nutritionist by Feb. 28, 2014 to help me eat healthier.
- Relationships – I will take my son to a hockey game by March 31, 2014. I will take my daughter to a play by April 30, 2014. I will have one ‘date night’ per month with my spouse.
- Business and career – My business will have $250,000 in revenue in 2014. I will take a PMP Exam Preparation course by June 30, 2014. I will write and pass my PMP exam by Sept. 30, 2014.
- Financial – I will invest $10,000 in my RRSP this year. I will contribute $200 per month to each child’s RESP fund. I will pay a lawyer to complete our family will by March 31, 2014.
- Fun – I will take the family to Disneyland in July 2014. I will go on a weekend get-away with my wife in November. We will have family movie nights once per month.
- Contribution – I will coach my son’s soccer team. I will join the Board of Directors for an industry association. I will participate in the Ride to Conquer cancer this year.
Step 4: Write down your goals
Record your goals in whatever format you prefer – e.g., a ‘goals’ notebook, Word, Excel, the notepad on your phone, etc.
Step 5: Share your goals
Research shows that if you share your goals with people close to you, it provides extra motivation to achieve them.
Step 6: Review your goals
Review your goals regularly. Tape them to the bathroom mirror. Keep them in your purse or wallet. Make the list your laptop wallpaper. Laminate and hang the list in your office. Out of sight means out of mind. If you need extra motivation, identify an accountability partner who will review your goals with you on a monthly basis and push you to excel.
Step 7: Take action
When you identify and write down your priorities every day (you do write down your priorities every day, don’t you?), make sure to include tasks that will move you closer toward your goals. Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t lose sight of what is important. Anybody can set goals. High achievers take action daily to get them done.
Step 8: Track your accomplishments
When you achieve a goal, record it. It is very satisfying to cross a completed goal off the list or to mark it as ‘DONE!’
Step 9: Celebrate!
When a goal is achieved, reward yourself. You deserve it.
Interested in learning more? Check out these four books: The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, Having It All by John Assaraf, The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt, and Focal Point by Brian Tracy. I highly recommend adding these books to your personal library.
Make the time to define your 2014 goals. Remember to write them down, share them with family and friends, regularly review the list, take action daily, and track your accomplishments. Doing so will maximize your chances of having a great year. All the best in 2014.