As Forbes.com contributor Samantha Smith asserts, "Setting goals isn't something you should do because it's a new year. Goals should be continuously created as you think of them and revised quarterly if not after changes and other impactful moments."
Let's talk about why you need to organize your goals and what you can do to get started today.
Why Organize Your Goals?
If you've ever been in a disorganized, cluttered space, you might have found it a challenge to concentrate. Just as it's tough to focus in disarray, the same can be said about your goals - if they lack organization and clarity, it can be near impossible to actually achieve them.
For instance, if your goal is to "eliminate stress and feel free again", what does that really mean? It might translate into "I want to cut back on the number of hours I spend in the office so I can free up my time to be with my family more." For you, it might mean something different, and that's why it's so important to be as specific as you can.
Once you figure out what it is that you want to achieve, it's time to get your goals in order. For instance, is your goal a personal goal? Is it related to your career or business?
Don't stop there - once you identify what area of your life your goal falls into, narrow down the category even more. Is it a goal related to your personal relationships... a financial goal you want to make happen in your business... a goal that is designed to increase your personal development?
Goal-Setting Mistakes to Watch Out For
In a Forbes.com article, author Ron Ashkenas talks about what he calls the "seven deadly sins of goal-setting" that leaders sometimes make. In truth, we all make these mistakes, so here are a few to watch out for:
1. The goal is unclear or distant. It's hard to take a goal seriously - and even harder to actually work on achieving it - when we don't define a time frame for completing it with measurable steps along the way to mark our progress. If you have a long-term goal that you want to complete within the next few years, you must organize the small steps along the way to give yourself the best chance at success.
2. There are too many goals to focus on. We all do this sometimes, especially at the beginning of the year when say we want to lose weight, run in a marathon, make more money, get more free time... you know how it goes. When we fill our plate with an overabundance of disorganized goals, the initial zest and motivation we feel to achieve them can quickly lead to frustration and overwhelm.
3. The goal isn't authentic. Or, as Ashkenas says, "... the goal is just an exercise to convey the appearance of progress, but there's no hope of achieving it." When your goals aren't aligned with who you really are - your core values - it's a challenge to muster up the energy you need to organize them, and virtually impossible to ever actually achieve them.
Give yourself the greatest chance at success by organizing your goals first, making sure to watch out for these so-called "deadly sins" along the way!
A Blueprint for Greater Clarity
I want you to set aside some time to answer - and reflect upon - the five questions below:
1. As you think about all the goals you want to achieve, what are your top 3 for this year?
2. Why is it important for you to achieve these goals - in other words, what will it mean for your business and/or your life when you accomplish them?
3. What roadblocks do you see that have prevented or might prevent you from achieving these goals?
4. Now, think about the goals you've accomplished in the past. Write down some of your top achievements.
5. When you think about your previous successes, what did you learn - what did you do, specifically, to accomplish the goal?
The objective of this exercise is to help you deepen your insight - in your own words - about the goals you want to achieve.
True freedom in your business and in your life starts with a series of well-organized goals, so get started today on putting yours in order
Colleen Slaughter, founder of Authentic Leadership International, is a proven coach with a remarkable ability to motivate women to cultivate greater authenticity and fulfillment at home and in the workplace.
Colleen's dynamic experience allows her to skillfully guide her clients to navigate roadblocks and develop practical solutions to accomplish both personal and professional goals.