Goals give you direction and a sense of purpose and responsibility for your personal and professional lives. But don’t just list your goals and hope you accomplish them. Add process and strategic markers to each one. Define how you’ll achieve each goal.
Process and strategy
Start with a few categories – There’s no faster way to fail than overwhelming yourself with too many goals. Assign five categories and identify two primary goals in each.
Categories vary widely depending on your needs and desires. I’ve used variations of the following: Professional, Finances, Health, Fitness, and Relationships.
Be specific about you goals – You need to be precise and clear about your goals in order to identify how to accomplish them. Under the “Professional” category “Learn to code” is not a goal. “Build WordPress websites” narrows it. Limit further: “Learn PHP” and “hone CSS and HTML skills.”
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Define a process – This is the critical part–identifying the “how”–and one which is often ignored, resulting in failed goals.
Provide details on how you’ll “Learn PHP” and “hone CSS and HTML skills” in order to “build WordPress Websites.” Sign up for classes online or at a local college or learning center. Locate video tutorials and create your viewing, learning, and practicing schedule.
Make your goals visible – Daily visual reminders do wonders for remembering and keeping up with goals. Write your 10 goals and processes on a poster or sheet of paper and put it on the wall or in a magnetic sleeve on your fridge. Or, take a picture and make it the screen saver or background image on your computer or phone.
I also store my goals and processes in Evernote which I use every day and is available on my computer, online, and on my phone.
Develop a strategy for tracking success – You don’t want to be nine months in and discover that you’re not achieving your goals with the process you have in place. And, let’s face it, life often gets in the way. Develop and define and calendar markers of success–monthly, quarterly, etc–and refine the process as you progress, keeping the big picture in mind: “Learn PHP” and “Hone CSS and HTML skills” to “Build WordPress websites.”
Create a back burner file – We have so much we’d like to improve upon and achieve that one of the biggest problems in planning our goals is to narrow them down to a manageable few.
This is where a back burner file comes in handy. Throw all of your ideas in there and revisit them periodically throughout the year. Maybe you’ll need to swap one of your goals out that is no longer relevant or that you’ve completed. In my experience, many of the back burner goals I listed with much zeal, lost their importance as the year progressed and fell of the list.
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