A goal without a plan is merely a wish!

As we close out 2015 and welcome in another year, there is no shortage of information about the usefulness of goals (maybe under the auspice of business plans, personal development, physical health, etc.) and how having them can help us feel alive and engaged.  In fact, without goals, we have no benchmarks to assess progress.  All too often, I hear people talk about goals and about resolutions and about how they’d like their businesses…or their business practices…or their personal practices…or their life…or their weight…to be something other than what they currently are.  Typically, as one person talks, others are shaking their heads in agreement, there’s often a suggestions to set SMART goals, to have accountability measures and to pull in allies to help when your struggling.  Individuals leave feeling energized and ready to prioritize their life to accomplish their goals.  It seems as though success would be eminent.

So, how many goals did you complete from last year’s list?  Would your answer be “all” “none” or maybe it’s somewhere in the middle.  If you find yourself answering anything other than “all” and maybe realizing a bit of an annual pattern, you’re likely in need of a few new strategies to help pump your success.  Start by being honest with yourself about whether each of the things on your list is a goal or a wish.  How do you tell?  Well, you’re willing to make sacrifices for goals – wishes are things that you’d like to happen but aren’t really willing to make any sacrifices for.  For instance, let’s say you’d like to increase annual revenue by 3%.  Having a G next to that item would mean that you’re willing to invest in the success of increasing revenue by 3% – that investment may be monetary (such as hiring a coach) or include time commitments (such as investigating how to re-allocate funds from other areas).  Having a W next to this item means that it would be really great if revenue increased and you’d like to enjoy the benefits of it increasing, but you’re not really willing to invest any more (or different) resources than what you currently do.  Knowing whether something is a Goal or a Wish helps you concretely know the value of this item and whether it should stay on this list (I would advocate having a separate “Wish” list – with strategies that are more Wish Conducive).  After you’ve finished marking each item, try putting a simple reminder in your calendar that keeps the goal at the forefront of your mind, is specific and encourages you to maintain forward thinking practices.  For instance, if your goal is to increase revenue by 3%, you might set a reminder in for every Monday morning that asks the question what are three things I can do this week to work toward increasing revenue by 3%?  Or, if your goal is to lose 20lbs, perhaps setting a reminder on your phone just before that afternoon snack time posing a question such as, is what I’m about to consume conducive to my goal of losing 20lbs?

By identifying whether your list is composed of Goals or Wants and then by implementing strategies to help (and to chart) your progress, you will be on your way to successful strategies so that next year, you can be proud in looking at your goals and having all of them accomplished!