Simple Goal Setting

Don't Swim Without Goals - Better Goal Setting


Are you still playing Marco Polo? Remember that children's game played in the shallow end of the pool best described as water tag with closed eyes? Living daily without clearly-defined goals is adult Marco Polo. You're hoping to reach an outcome with your eyes essentially closed to where success might be.


How many of you could actually produce your goals, right now, within ten seconds? If not in written form, could you recite them from memory? I'm guessing quite a few of you can't. Most individuals haven't taken the time to set clear-cut goals for their lives, and those that have likely don't have them accessible.

Goals are important. Sometimes they are so important that we ignore them.

Effective goal setting is often mistakenly seen as an idealistic, challenging experience requiring hours in solitude and the assistance of a guru. Many individuals believe they are too busy for goal setting or don't know how to achieve goals. Others simply avoid them for fear of commitment.

I would argue that living without goals is like wandering around with your eyes shut. It is crucial to know where you're going so you can confidently move forward on the right path today. Commit yourself to living with goals and have them front and center in your life.

Here's a quick way to get started:

1) Divide and Conquer

Split your life into specific categories. I choose Work, Home, Family, Financial, and Self, though your categories may differ. The key is to find the specific elements that compose your life. Try to keep your list simple as many goals may span across several categories.

2) Create a Vision

Open yourself up to each category, one at a time. Consider what feels like a successful you -- what it means, what it looks like, how it feels. Remember to think of success not as an outcome, but as a milestone in your journey.

3) Verb/Noun/Time

Write down your goals in simple, actionable phrases. Start with a verb, specify your noun, and create a timeframe. Clearly define your outcomes. Remember, this is supposed to be simple and effective so don't get caught up in the language. Write what speaks to you. Some examples:

• Complete landscaping project by July 4
• Double sales by Fiscal Quarter 3
•Enhance ”family time” by end of year
• Buy vacation home by 2020

4) Carry Them Everywhere

Now that you have goals, keep them with you. Stick them in your planner, your desktop, or fold them up and put them in your pocket. Review them frequently – on the elevator, between tasks. Try them out like a new pair of shoes and see how comfortable you feel with them. In time, if your goals don't fit, you can go back and rewrite.

Goals should define your every activity as you plan and live your day. Knowing your goals, each move you make should be a step in the right direction. Your eyes are now open.