Goal Setting Tips

This is a great time of year to reflect on what you have accomplished. It is also a great time to develop a new set of goals for the new year. Here are a few ideas that have worked for me:

  • Set big goals: This is more than an emotional appeal. Big goals are healthy for you. They inspire you. Even more powerful, they require you to think differently, they will require that you think about them a lot and they will require significant effort. If you have small goals, they will not capture your own attention and in turn, you will not inspire others with the things you are aiming for. Big is better for you, and it will draw others into your journey.
  • The "Main List" is a positive list: The main things you are aiming to accomplish should be positive things that will make your life better, your product better, your company better and your customers win.
  • Reflect, Be Thankful: Use your past success as a basis for how you see the future. Often we sit down to plan for a new year and focus on the things that are not going well. We make a list of things to fix. Before you get to that list take time to reflect on the things that have gone well for you. Look at the past year and make a list of things that you are thankful for. Go further back and find things that have been good for you. A positive frame of mind is healthier soil to plant the seeds of your future goals.
  • Don't skip the "fix list": I find it helpful to have a short list of things that need to be completed to allow the rest of the big stuff to be accomplished. Many times this list involves pulling together a few smart folks to just work out a simple plan to make an incremental improvement or get that breakthrough and advance. It actually is healthy for your mind to know there is a plan to address the nagging issues. It helps; just do not make the fix list your main list.
  • More first, then less: I find it helpful to start with more ideas and narrow it down to the essential ideas toward the finalization process. I have some additional thoughts in a prior blog post here.

Have fun dreaming about what big things you can accomplish next year. Get some clean sheets of paper and let your mind run wild. Some goals take more than a year to accomplish so if you have a big one you are still waiting to see come true, be brave enough to write it down again. Keep after it.