Setting Goals

Setting goals has not been one of my strengths.  Even though study after study seems to indicate that those that do are more successful and achieve more than those that don’t, I have struggled every year to set goals.  I wondered why that was so difficult for me.  It came down to this:

I was overthinking it WAY too much and making it much more complicated than it has to be.

In my mind, I was thinking that I had to have the right formula, a certain number of actions points, perfectly formatted and equally bulleted actions steps, etc.  I would often wonder what should I set goals for, and what categories should they be listed under.  See what I mean.  Overthinking.

So this spring (yes, it took me till spring to set goals for the year..I told you I was awful at it) I decided to take what I call “imperfect action” and just start writing.  I gave myself permission to just write down what I really wanted to accomplish and to forget all of the expert advice, diagrams and articles on goal writing.  I figured that if I just accomplish 1 goal in a few areas of my life, it would be more than setting and accomplishing none.  I’d like to share how I did it.  Get ready to be underwhelmed. 🙂

1. I got out a pencil and a yellow steno pad.  Already getting pretty high-tech I know, but hang on.

2. I put down some categories and spaced them out to list out my goals for each of those categories: Spiritual, Family, Business, Financial, Health, Home.  I have in my mind an idea or a vision of where I’d like to see these things go.

3. I prayed.  Nothing major.  “Lord, help me put down goals that honor you.  Amen.” I know you’re impressed by my liturgy there.

4. Next, I began to write out my goals under each of those categories.  Now, it is easy to get lost in the weeds here, but don’t let it side track you.  If your goal that you’ve written here has some “action steps” built in, that’s fine.  Again, I didn’t care about perfection.  I care about the implementation because I have a vision or an idea of where I think I’d like to go.  For example, one of of my Family “goals” is to have a sit-down dinner with my family once a week.  You would be surprised how difficult that can be especially with two working parents and a driving teenager. 🙂  Not all of my categories had the same number of goals.  That use to bother me.  Not anymore.  Just SET some goals.

5. I do like some organization, AND I know that I have to keep them visibly in front of me.  I typed up my goals, and then put them in Evernote so that I could have it with me wherever I go on my phone/ipad.  I also printed a copy out for my whiteboard in my office and my mirror in the bathroom.  I used these restickable dots that I got from Office Depot to post them as I’d rather not put tape everywhere.

That’s it.  If you’re like me and are an impefect goal setter, maybe pick 3 or 4 areas of your life and just set 1 goal for each.  Think about it. If you just achieve one of those that is one more than you would have achieved if you had set no goals.

How about you?  Are you an imperfect goal setter or an expert?  What’s been your experience in setting goals?  Leave a comment below.

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