Setting Goals, Not Resolutions

“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind” – Seneca (Roman Stoic philosopher 4BC – 64AD)

The end of one year and the beginning of a new one is typically time for resolutions. This year, instead of resolutions, how about setting some goals instead?

What is the difference between resolutions and goals? Resolutions tend to be fairly non-specific generalities such as: “losing weight”, “getting organized” or “getting in shape”. However, goals tend to be specific and focused. Goals are: “I am going to lose 15 pounds by March 31st” or “I am going to run a 10K road race in May of 2010”. Resolutions are abstract, goals are concrete; resolutions are promises, goals are contracts.

Even though your life may be strewn with the wreckage of previous resolutions now abandoned, I want to encourage you to try it again this year, but this time take some time and set concrete goals for 2010. To assist you in developing a spirit of resolve as we face the future of a new year, here are 5 reasons you need to set goals for 2010 and 5 tips for setting effective goals.

Reasons to set goals.

  1. Goals establish direction for your life. If you never set a goal, how will you know where you are going?
  2. Goals identify results. If no goal exists, how do you measure your progress?
  3. Goals challenge you to grow. If you never set a goal, how do you move out of your comfort zone?
  4. Goal setting gives you confidence. Your frustration is immediately lowered when vagueness and doubt are replaced by focus and concentration.
  5. Goal setting is the foundation of success. A builder cannot construct a home without first outlining a blueprint. A pilot cannot fly a plane without first submitting a flight plan. A minister cannot deliver his sermon without first framing his message. You cannot design an extraordinary life without a solid foundation – goals.

Tips for setting goals.

  1. Goals must be specific. State clearly what success means. You will not “Eat better”, you will “limit your intake of saturated fats” or “consume 2000 calories per day”.
  2. Goals must be measurable. Have a clear target. You will not “lose weight”, you are going to “lose 25 pounds by June 1, 2010”.
  3. Goals must be reasonable. Make sure your goal is attainable. Don’t set a goal to sell $250,000 in 2010 if you’ve never sold more than $100,000 in one year. Have a reasonable basis to expect success.
  4. Goals must have a plan to attain them. If you set a goal to get 100 new customers in 2010, make sure you have in place a method that can generate 1.923 new customers per week or 8.333 new customers per month.
  5. Goals must be written down. A goal is nothing more than a wish until it is written down. Write your goals down on a 3”X 5” note card and keep it in your calendar or pocket. Written goals must then be taken out and reviewed daily, if not more often.

Clearly defined goals and strategies are the single most important structure in the long-term effectiveness, profitability and sustainability of your business or career. Focusing on one’s goals helps make life more enjoyable and gives one a greater sense of control in their life.

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