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Goals ... 2006 Wrap-up and 2007 Planning

For much of my working life I was told of the importance of goals, and yet it took me many years before I began the process of setting myself goals. I think about the reasons I did not do it and I'm sure they are the same for most people ...
- it seems academic;
- if you have never done it before, where do you start;
- how do you set realistic goals;
- it feel like work, maybe I'll do it tomorrow!

I'm sure you have heard all of the good reasons why you should have goals ...
- If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there;
- Goals help to focus your efforts;
- Goals are like a roadmap for life, they guide you in your decisions.

This is a great time of year for goal setting. Those people who set goals last year can develop a score card, and understand what they achieved and where they fell short. This will feed into their goals for 2007.

All good stuff ... but goals are for other people, right?

Wrong ... if you really want to take charge of your life then goals are for you! Why should you do it now, when you have procrastinated every year until now? Because I am going to make it easy for you ... and if you try it you will see results!

There are a ton of good resources for this on the net, like this site offering help with personal goal setting.

The following are the steps I took to get started ...

Step 1. I developed categories that worked for me ...

- Health and Fitness
- Vacation
- Career
- Family
- Training/Education

Step 2. I set at least one goal for each category, several goals in some categories. Here are some examples ...

Under health and fitness you might want to lose 5lb by March 2007; you might want to add weights into your workout routine at least twice a week; you might plan to reduce coffee consumption to 2 per day. Etc.

Under Vacation you should really give some thought about where you would like to go this year. It could be to enjoy the cottage at least 12 weekends, or plan a weekend getaway without the kids; or take a 2 week vacation somewhere exotic etc.

Under Career you might set a goal of mastering certain aspects of your current role by the Fall; having a career planning meeting with your boss or HR; or developing a training plan to advance your career.

The goals that you pick need to be achievable and within your control. This way you will see progress and as you do progress you can always add more goals or increase the "intensity".

Step 3. Plan into your calendar a monthly review. At that review you will check your progress against each goal and will create action items to address them ... which will go onto your "to do" list (of course you have a "to do" list!).

This is a very basic, easily managed approach to goal setting. You can obviously get much more complicated and sophisticated but this works and the most important thing is to start somewhere.

Try it ... this time next year you can be sitting and reviewing how you did in all of those categories and planning for 2008! Good luck!