Last week we discussed the importance of having a purpose prior to sitting down and writing out our goals.  Purpose provides the foundation from which you can decide the priority of each of the goals you write (yes, write – if it really is a goal write it down).  Completion of this task puts you in a very special group as there are very few people that take the time or initiative to plan what they want to achieve in the next year or the coming years.

Tim Elmore from Growing Leaders uses the following questions to help him create his goal setting sessions.  What are my greatest dreams for 2015?  What projects will these dreams require of me? What daily actions must I engage in to fulfill them?  What standards will I live by, throughout the next year?      In what areas of my life do I most want to grow in 2015?  What books will I read this next year to achieve those growth goals?  What mentors will I seek out to achieve those growth goals?  What magazines will I scan and file to achieve those growth goals?  What events will I attend to achieve those growth goals?  What podcasts (audio recordings) will I listen to, to help me grow?  What will I do Monday through Friday to be intentional about my growth?

In the book “The Power of Focus” coauthors Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt (a Calgarian) define a goal as the ongoing pursuit of a worthy objective until accomplished.  They also give a top 10 checklist as a framework to successful goal setting.

1.   Your most important goals must be yours – not the boss, the company, the industry, the family – what do YOU really want…
2.   Your goals must be meaningful – what’s the purpose, what am I prepared to give up to make this happen, what are the rewards and benefits.
3.   Your goals must be specific and measurable – no wishy-washy statements or vague generalizations – how much, how much time, how often, with whom etc.
4.   Your goals must be flexible – must be able to vary to avoid boredom (ie exercise programming) and the ability to change course if a genuine opportunity is presented.
6.   Your goals must be in alignment with your values – what are your values – the fundamental beliefs that have molded your character.
7.   Your goals must be well balanced – make sure there are goals in all areas of your life – I use five different headings or areas for my yearly goals (Physical/Health/Recreational; Mental/Intellectual/Spiritual; Family/Relationships/Social; Financial/Material/Contribution; Career/CBH/Professional Development) and 9 headings for my monthly goals.
8.   Your goals must be realistic – there are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic time frames.
9.   Your goals must include contribution – comes in many forms – your time, your expertise, financially etc.
10. Your goals need to be supported – we all need proactive individuals who will support and encourage us.

If you have never written your goals or powerful promises to yourself on paper now is the time to start.  Get some paper and write your goal categories on the top of each page (In the Power of Focus they use these 7 – Financial, Business/Career, Fun time, Health and Fitness, Relationships, Personal, Contribution.  Now just write whatever comes to mind – do not limit yourself in any way – you may surprise yourself.
Once you have your lists, now you can prioritize your goals – which are the most important – number them and re-list them.  Now you will have the top goal in each goal category – take the first step to achieve it – then on to number two.

Do this and you will achieve more in the next year then you thought possible.  Don’t be overwhelmed, take the time to go through the process and if you are having difficulty or have questions there are a multitude of books and resources that can help you.  As I write this the books all over the desk are The Power of Focus, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The on-Purpose Person, Even Eagles need a Push and The Eagles Secret.
Take the time today to write your goals so when you review 2015 in December it will be your best year yet.
You don’t become the thing you think about all the time.  You become the thing you DO all the time.
Martin Rooney