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goals just a thought skills Jan 26, 2021

We're about a month into the new year. How are your goals coming along?

Goals are slippery little things, aren't they? Many of us have a love-hate relationship with goals. I love them because I enjoy the feeling of progress and accomplishment. I struggle with them due to my deep-seated desire to sit and watch good TV shows and movies all day every day.

Here are a handful of things I've learned about goals while running my business for over two decades now. They help keep me off the couch and away from the TV.

  1. Set them for YOURSELF. You must be comfortable with your goals and the outcome - reached or unreached. Your goals are deeply personal and you attempt them for personal reasons.
  2. The "what" of goal setting is easy. The "why" often takes a bit more reflection. Yes, of course the "what" and the "why" of your goals are closely intertwined but it helps to make sure they are clear in your mind.
  3. Aligning expectations around your goals is an important piece of the goals puzzle. Making sure your goals are moving along at a pace you are happy with that is realistic and balanced with everything else happening in your life is critical to successfully accomplishing them. If I skip this step, I have constant feelings of inadequacy, that I'm not working hard enough. Not good.
  4. One of my main challenges with goals has been focusing too much on the end result. Don't get me wrong. The end result is important. But it helps if there is a balance between end-goal focus and present-moment task. When I focus too much - okay, exclusively - on the end-goal, I end up biting off too much at one time and become discouraged which can lead me to giving up. When I approach goals through a series of small tasks that I perform and complete day after day, I find myself staying motivated and excited about my goals. What small task can you complete here, today, now that moves you a wee bit closer to successfully completing your goals?

We have a lot of 2021 ahead of us. There's still plenty of time to set some goals and then take the critical next steps to track, review, and update them. I set aside time each week to review and update my progress toward goals. Being a nerdy tracking wonk, I have my annual goals setup in a Google Sheet. Every Saturday morning I work through each goal and add a short note on my progress. At the bottom of the worksheet is this passage from the book 365 Tao by Deng Ming-Dao.

"It’s important to examine both the short-range and the long-range. If you want to go far in a decade, you have to go far each year. If you want to go far each year, you have to make sure that you do something significant each day. Use the cycles of life to establish a measure to your life, and then arrange your plans according to the units that you have chosen. Then there will be no fear of not knowing your own progress."

So go on now! 2021 is SO your year!

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