Thinking through your goals

Yesterday’s post examined the importance of SMART goals for every area of your life. Today I want to focus on how to think through your goals to give you the best chance of achieving them.

Before doing so I need to explain that the system I use began several years ago after attending a motivational conference that featured Zig Ziglar and several other speakers. Ziglar convinced me of the importance of having a goal setting program and, of course, had one available for sale in the resource area. I bought it and began the next year using his program. I still use it today because I’ve never found anything that is as effective and thorough. I would imagine that his organization still sells some version of that program, and I would recommend buying it and following it in detail. I purchased it new for four years in a row before feeling comfortable that I could follow it without purchasing the program.

Once I identify my goal I take it through the SMART process I discussed earlier. That becomes my goal which is written at the top of the page. Then I begin to flesh it out in more detail. Each of the answers is written out on the page beneath the goal.

  • How will reaching this goal benefit me, someone else, or my organization?
  • What major obstacles can I identify that will prevent me from reaching this goal?
  • What skills or knowledge do I need to reach this goal?
  • Who are the people I need to work with to reach this goal?
  • What is my plan of action to reach this goal?

The plan of action actually becomes a series of short-term goals that need to occur if I am to achieve my primary goal. Some people refer to this as Key Result Areas. Each of these are steps that I need to take that lead to the accomplishment of the goal.

A few years ago one of my goals was to develop resources that would assist smaller churches and present them to churches and denominational organizations by the end of that year. My plan of action included

  • I have one new book scheduled for release in March of this year and a contract with a publishing company for another book.
  • I will work with (Name of Organization) to schedule workshops and seminars with various denominations.
  • I will lead a series of workshops for small churches for the ______________.

By the end of that year my new book was released. I held workshops for small church leaders at four sites in Indiana and six other workshops in two other states. In addition, I led four workshops in Nova Scotia and one on a university campus. A new workshop was developed and presented to one association. The contracted book was finished and scheduled for release in the spring of the following year.

This was only one goal of several I had that year. Each of them were completed because I had thought through the goals, developed a plan of action to achieve them, and worked the plan. You can do the same.

I usually begin thinking about my goals in the fall for the next year. By the end of December, if not earlier, I want to have my goals set so I can start working on them at the start of the new year. However, you can set goals at any time of the year. I believe if you begin working on clear, well thought-through goals at the middle of the year you will find the second half of the year will be much more productive than the first half.

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