At the beginning of a new year you dream big, write goals, make a plan of action and tell friends what you’ll accomplish.
But when next December arrives…nothing has happened. Nothing has been accomplished. It’s disheartening to say the least. Almost enough to make you never want to write a goal again.
January was filled with hopes and dreams. Nothing too bad happened this year – but surely nothing great happened.
What went wrong?
You may have paid attention to your goals all year and tried to have action plans; but for some reason, it still didn’t work.
Or, perhaps you spent some effort on the front end. You set SMART goals, followed the 10 Goal Setting Steps or whatever. The plan was set in January. You were on fire in February…and then you never looked at the goals again after March.
Nothing will make you feel more like a failure than checking off only one out of fifteen goals at the end of the year. You start thinking, “I’m never making New Year goals again.”
I’m going to give you a goal-planning process to help turn the next 6 months around in regards to setting and achieving goals. Warning — It takes work, effort, time and dedication. Some of the process is fun (thinking big and checking off accomplishments). Some of it, not so much (putting in the back-end work and planning your week in advance).
Spend about a week or two going through the process outlined below. Do the first step today.
You’ll also notice the 6 month timeline instead of the typical year we’re used to. Often, a year is too long for goal planning. Things change. We put it off. It’s too far in the future to understand what we need to do today.
Zig Ziglar taught me the basis of these steps many years ago and it significantly impacted the course of his life (this is William Albritton writing this by the way). A few years ago, Ari Weinzweig, founder of Zingerman’s, worked with our business and he tweaked a few things in Zig’s initial goal setting steps. Over the years, this process has been refined to work for people like you.
All of the following activities should be written. Don’t simply go through this in your head.
Take a few minutes to write things you accomplished in the last year. What makes you proud?
Take 15 – 30 min of quiet time and start brainstorming a first draft of your goals.
Don’t hold back. It’s just a draft. Write things that are big. That may even scare you.
Write from your gut. No one will see this draft. Don’t let yourself stop writing for 15 –30 min. A good way to start the draft is by writing “I’m sitting here on [Date/Year that is 6 months from now] at my house and this is what I have done in the past 6 months….I made ‘x’ dollars, I ran a mile in ‘y’, etc.” Don’t stop to think. Just keep writing.
Write what you want to be, do and have.
Include items in each of these 7 categories:
The intent is to be well rounded in life. It’s important to have goals in each category.
If life is excelling in the physical realm but lacking on the family side, you know where the focus should be placed the next 6 months.
Wait 24 – 48 hours. Mark which category each goal falls under. Is there a
discrepancy in overall balance? Is there anything to add or delete?
Ask yourself “Why” about each goal. If you aren’t able to do it in one sentence,
delete it. It is not something that needs to be done at this time.
Remember, write down all of this.
Ask these 5 questions about each goal. All questions should receive a “yes”. If there’s a “no”, delete the goal.
If you can’t answer yes to each of these, mark it off your list.
Through this process, was there a goal that weighed on your mind? Maybe there were a few. “I want ‘x’ but do I have the time to invest?”; “I desire ‘y’ but it’s selfish; ‘Y’ is not going to have a real impact on my life.”
There are likely one or two things you need to add or eliminate and you have no desire to do so. Things that require making sacrifices, or giving up desires that are ‘good’ but have no real impact on this world.
Your list should be final now. Everything has been vetted. Although the list pushes your comfort level, you feel each goal is right for you.
Put these goals into a format to be looked at each day for the next 6 months. Rewrite them neatly on a notepad, type them, laminate it or write it on your bathroom mirror – whatever will make it easy to review everyday and keep fresh on your mind.
A final thought: some of these are “give up” goals and some are “go up” goals. Give up goals would be those along the lines of “I’m giving up drinking…bread…gossip.” You need to tell everyone about these. Get some accountability. You’re less likely to go out partying if you’ve told a few respectable friends you’re giving that up.
Limit who you tell about your “go up” goals. Go up goals include those such as, “I will lose 20 lbs the next 6 months,” or “I will start a business.” I suggest not telling anyone unless they are mentoring or coaching you to achieve the goal.
Telling people before you accomplish a goal can actually hurt your chances of accomplishment. Endorphins are released when telling people about this amazing thing you are going to do. The same endorphins are released when you actually accomplish it. That feeling is what drives you to accomplish the goal. If you get the feeling before it’s actually accomplished, you lose the drive, in turn reducing your chance at success.