OK, so here is where I let you know HOW to set goals. You can read Part 1 of this article here.
First schedule time on your calendar, soon. Truthfully an hour should work to start. Go get a good cup of coffee and settle in a comfortable chair. Bring a note book and pen and really nothing else. Turn off the cell phone! Yes, I said it…turn it off or hide it so you aren’t tempted to surf. Then find a quiet place. Make goal setting something to look forward to. Not a painful task. Think about it. This time is all about you. What else could be better?
Next, start writing ideas and thoughts for each of the sections. To make it easier, start off with one area of your life such as Career on one page. Write “Career” at the top and go from there. Don’t try to skip through all of them at once. Stay on one topic area until you are out of ideas or thoughts. Then move on.
After your initial brainstorming session, schedule another “time alone,” again some place comfortable and pleasant to you. Personally I sometimes go to the library and other times, I love being at Panera Bread or Starbucks. If I really do not want to get distracted at all, I go to the library. If I lived in the south, I would be at the beach. Go through your list. If you have hand-written your list, try typing them up so they are easier to read and to edit for the long term. Unlike many of you my handwriting is awful. I try to write too fast and it is a mess so I really try to type from the second round on.
Trim down to a few core goals for each category. Next, break down to monthly goals if you feel daring. If you feel even more daring, do some goal setting for five and ten years out. Remember keep things straight-forward, realistic, but will cause you to stretch.
Keep editing until you love what you see. Get jazzed about the possibilities of what a year from now could look like after you have achieved these goals! Seriously, get jazzed! Finally, type them up, print off, and carry with you. Or find a place where you can access your document at least monthly, if not more often, to look at them, even if briefly, to see where you are at. Do a little mental check-in as you review them. Am I making progress or back-sliding?
One of my new goals I added in 2009, I really like. It is an annual goal of how many books I will read. I have never been a strong reader. Actually I am pretty slow but I have gained a love of reading and want to do more of it. I read mostly non-fiction so my reading is not usually “light” but every once in awhile I pick up an entertaining fiction book and read it in a week. My goal is not just about how many books but it is to really help me gain wisdom and knowledge and to increase my reading speed. We become faster readers the more we read.
That’s it. It is not rocket science although to those that don’t enjoy setting goals because they constantly get discouraged, take heart, try it again. Set more realistic goals and give yourself grace if you don’t reach all of them with a champion flair or with style and grace, it is okay. Sometimes we stumble along but still succeed.
For instance, my goals for 2009 included getting healthier – which means to me eating better than I do, find an exercise routine that I will really enjoy and gain strength and energy. Well I did not do so well on this one but I did do some research in the area of nutrition and began taking Zumba classes. I was reminded in my Zumba class how much I love latin music and dance. And although it is not an “exercise routine” we got a new puppy which I need to take for walks regularly. This gets me out of my home office at least once a day. Some progress was achieved this year.
Even though my “get healthy” goals did not go as far as I had planned or envisioned, I did accomplish more in my career goals. I finished eight months of certification work for my career coaching and came out with two certifications and a whole bunch more knowledge that I use with my clients every day. I gave myself “grace” in the get healthy area because I accomplished more than I imagined in my business goals.
I think you get the point. Go, have fun with it. Here’s to the goals that are yet to be.
Lisa Adams, founder of Fresh Air Careers, is a certified career management coach and job search strategist, specializing in helping young professionals navigate the waters of their first career transition.
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