It’s that time of year—goal setting time. New Year’s resolutions abound on every desk, journal, career goal system, refrigerator, bathroom, car visor, website and even napkins. Of course, there’s also those we keep in the clouds and never record unless we generate a moment of early accountability.
However, I believe that most of us make some fatal errors in our goal setting.
First, we set our sights way too low. We are afraid of failing. We don’t like the discomfort of stretch goals. Stretch goals require immediate action and heightened energy so it’s easier to set a lower bar of achievement. My advice is to always ask a few clarifying questions.
- Is this goal a game changer?
- Will my life truly be better if I accomplish this?
- Will anyone notice?
- Will I have an impact with this goal?
- Does it help me achieve my purpose in life?
That last one is a great daily question.
Second, we set too many goals. The more goals the more impact, right? In my personal experience, too many goals leave me distracted, conflicted on priorities and led to my worst years of accomplishment. If everything is important then nothing is important.
Third, I find that we do not set a primary goal in key areas of our life. If we are completely focused on just career or pleasure or family, our lives can get out of balance. The happiest, most successful people I know grow in five distinct areas—career, family, health, spiritual and skills (learnings). I believe we achieve the most when we have at least one game changer goal for each area of our life.
I hope that these three observations will help you in setting your goals. And yes—record them and keep them handy, it’s the first step in accountability. As John Maxwell recently said, “Most people have uphill dreams and downhill habits.” How are your habits on annual goal setting? Best wishes for a happy, healthy, loving and prosperous new year.