Here we are, already in February. I'm not sure where January went but it seems that every training I attended, networking event I participated in, and every call I tuned in to in January featured one overwhelming theme: the importance of setting goals. Have you set your goals for 2012? The good news is, it's never too late to set goals whether professional or personal. Thought I'd share a few pointers to get you started (though these are geared toward business, the same principles apply to personal goals).
Why is so important to set goals in the first place? Your G.P.S. (Goals for Personal Success) provide a path or road map to help you get to your desired destination. Without directions, you could wander aimlessly, getting way off course. Now it's important to note that your goals should be just that--YOUR goals, specifically aligned to YOUR objectives and not just what everyone says you should be doing. It's also important to note that your goals need to be written down and not just floating around in your head as my goals often are. Why? Because unwritten goals are merely intentions. Think about it.
The first step in setting goals is to define your vision and understand your primary objective. What do you want your business ot look like? What are you hoping to achieve? In her book, The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom (excellent book by the way - I'll write more about this later), Carrie Wilkerson notes that not all goals and objectives revolve around money. She offers primary objectives that not only include cash generation, but also credibility building (do you need to create or expand your platform as an expert in your field?), and product development. It's critical that you understand what your primary objective is because all of your action plans need to support that objective. If you only focus on cash generation but your primary objective is to expand your customer base, chances are you won't be where you want to be at the end of the year.
Next, make your goals S.M.A.R.T.
S - specific
M - measurable
A - achievable (create your goals with your success in mind - don't set yourself up for failure)
R - realistic (it's OK to push yourself but be realistic; even small steps forward are great)
T - time oriented (know when you plan to achieve your goal)
Now that you have your objective and have spelled out your goals, it's smooth sailing right? Chances are there will be obstacles and roadblock along the way. To maximize your success, expect these and create a plan to get rid of these blocks. At a luncheon last month, Joan Walsh of Kashbox Coaching gave us a wonderful tool we can use to do this. Here are the basic steps (I'll let you contact Joan if you want more detail).
- Identify a possible obstacle to reaching your goals (what could prevent you from moving forward?).
- Identify possible solutions to overcome that obstacle.
- List the action steps needed to achieve that solution.
- Set a date for each action step.
- Get help or delegate tasks as needed to keep you focused on what you do best.
- Repeat for each potential obstacle.
The basic message is that if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. Taking the time to set some goals based on your objectives will put you on the path to a successful year. Then find an accountability partner to check in with from time to time to see if you are still on course if you need to plan a different route to get to your destination. It's not too late to plan--have a great year!