I’m often asked how I go about setting goals.
So, I decided to share my goal setting system. You may not be a goal-setter. On the other hand, you could be goal guru. Wherever you find yourself, I hope you find value here.
First, I have not always been a goal-setter. I was aimless for many years until someone (Dave Ramsey) taught me how to set goals. More importantly, I was taught ‘why’ I needed to set goals.
Second, I am not claiming that my process is the only way to set goals. Nor is it completely original. I am drawing from great leaders from whom I’ve learned over the years.
Thirdly, I’m not going to get into the ‘why’ of goal setting here. This article is for the individual who knows ‘why’ goal setting is important but needs a fresh look or wants to go a little deeper. I ask the men I mentor and leaders I work with to set goals using this method (or a variation). If we are setting goals using similar methods – we are speaking the same language.
FYI – I set my annual personal goals in March (as not to get mired by the ‘New Years Resolutions’ of others.)
I. Goal Setting Basics
Your goals must:
- Be SPECIFIC
- Be MEASURABLE (achievable)
- Be YOUR OWN (don’t let someone else set your personal goals)
- Have a TIME LIMIT
- Be in WRITING (keep where you can see them every day)
Example: “I want to complete the XYZ half-marathon (13.1 miles) on October 1, 2018.”
II. Undergird your goals (the ‘whats’)
For each goal ask the following questions (write down the answers)
1. What are the benefits of reaching this goal?
2. What are the obstacles?
3. What help is needed?
4. What is my plan of action?
5. What is my time-budget?
Using the example: “I want to complete the XYZ half-marathon (13.1 miles) on October 1, 2018.”
1. Benefits: I will be healthier, stronger and gain a sense of accomplishment
2. Obstacles: Procrastination and busy schedule (work and family)
3. Help needed: Accountability and encouragement – perhaps a training coach or partner
4. Plan of Action: Training plan – weekly running and conditioning schedule, diet changes, journal results
5. Time Budget: Weekly time set aside for training leading up to the half-marathon
III. Balance your personal goals
I recommend setting goals in 7 areas of life (Zig Ziglar’s ‘wheel’). This will keep you from becoming lopsided. Unbalanced goals will cause problems in other areas of life. Think of driving a car with a flat tire.
Set goals in these seven areas:
1. Personal (relational)
IV. Share your Goals
My biggest obstacle in reaching my goals is me. I must admit I need help (and I consider myself a self-starter). However, life gets busy and I know I’m a magician at creating busyness that pushes goals aside. Its a form of procrastination. Therefore, I share my goals with folks who will hold me accountable. I give them permission to press into me and ask me how I’m doing. They are my cheerleaders as well. I need someone to speak into my life and tell me to get moving or be there if I need help. (Great book on this is ‘Power of the Other’ by Dr. Henry Cloud)
I can’t say it enough, share your goals!
V. Going deeper with goals
Personal Mission Statement: If you want to live a life that matters and makes a difference in the world, create a personal mission statement. It is your ‘why’. It tells the world who you are and what you are about. Here is my mission statement.
Prayer: As a Christ-follower, I am intentional about prayer. I need wisdom, vision and strength to set and achieve goals. In addition, I want my goals to be in line with God’s will and purpose for my life. Pray in each of the seven areas of your life and ask God to provide direction.
Bible Verses: It is vital to me to have a bible verse as the foundation of my goals. I usually have one for the entire year. This verse undergirds all of my goals and acts as a theme for the year. When times get tough, I can fall back on God’s Word for strength. This reminds me whose ultimately in charge.
Reflection and Reporting: At the end of the year, I reflect and report on my goals. I share this with the team and invite feedback.
VI. When you FAIL – and you will FAIL
Every week I try to experience three things:
1. Accomplish something difficult
2. Learn something new
3. FAIL at something
Failure is a good thing. I do not hit all of my goals every year. If I did, my goals are not challenging enough. We need failure. We learn more from failure than success. When I look back over goals I’ve failed to achieve, I learn where I failed and why. I learn and also see PROGRESS! We may have failed to reach our goals but we make progress.
Encouragement for you
In conclusion, below are some quotes I keep in mind when it comes to goals:
“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” – Zig Ziglar
On being SPECIFIC: “Aim small, miss small” – Chris Kyle (US Navy SEAL Sniper)
“Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint (or perish)…” – Proverbs 29:18
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
I hope this is helpful.
Now, get after it!
Read previous post: Three Strikes and you’re NOT out – a comeback from failure
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