Thursday, February 2, 2012

Goal Setting

Sarah and I set aside time every January to establish annual goals. We don't consider them "new years resolutions;" we just happen to document them around the new year for the ease of tracking them. We typically set physical/fitness goals, career goals, spiritual goals, and financial goals. Dave Ramsey says "Successful people reassess their lives and then start living intentionally, in writing, on paper, on purpose;" and I can't think of many people who know more about habits of successful people than Dave Ramsey.

Actually, while I'm quoting Dave, I may as well just give you the whole shebang.

"Be specific. When setting goals, be specific in what you want to achieve. Vagueness will only cause you to feel overwhelmed, and you will just give up.

Make your goals measurable. In order to know if you achieved the goal, it must be measurable. For example, if you want to lose weight, don't simply write down "lose weight" as a goal. How much weight do you want to lose? Or don't just write "spend more time with family." How much time do you want to spend with your family every night?

Are they your goals? Only you can set your own goals. If your spouse, co-worker or friend sets a goal for you, you're not going to achieve it. Taking ownership will give you more incentive to meet your goal.

Set a time limit. Setting a time frame will help you set realistic goals. For example, if you want to save more money, list how much money a month you want to put into your savings account.

Put them in writing. Putting your goals in writing will make you much more likely to achieve them. Write down your goals and review them often. This will give you motivation to make them a reality."

As an example, based on yesterday's post you all know that I want to use raise money for the Spero Project this year through racing my bike. There isn't much use in just saying "I want to raise money." The first time I win $10 in a race my goal would be met. Stating that I want to raise $10,000 by December 31 is a little better. Printing it out and hanging it on my desk at work and my refrigerator at home so that I have to look at it every day makes it even more real.

I usually don't set a goal to win a particular race. It almost seems like bad karma, like I'm asking for a flat or crash. Anything can happen during a race, and a lot of it is out of your control. Your teammate could get in an early break. Are you going to chase him down to meet your goal? No. I prefer to go into every race trying to win, but having certain months of the year where my fitness is at its best.

Once you have a goal in mind, your next step is to make a plan to achieve that goal. I would talk about that today, but I'm afraid I'll only be able to come up with 28 relevant ideas for blog posts, and since this is a leap year I'll need 29.

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