I am a big believer in setting goals.
Not only is it helpful to have something specific that you are working toward, I think that goal-setting helps each of us to define our priorities. Sure, we want every area of life to go well and continually improve. But our energy is limited. Our time, money, and focus are finite. The question is, where are we going to spend them?
The new year is a very natural time to set some goals for ourselves. Of course, most people declare a “new year’s resolution” and they’ve given up on it by the middle of January. But even so, the process of determining that goal is still valuable!
Here is a simple six step process that may help you with your goal-setting this year:
- Identify the areas of life that are most important to you. For example: family, professional success, etc.
- Put these in a relative order of priority. For example: are family relationships more or less valuable than professional success, to you personally?)
- Put some time and reflection into envisioning what each area of life would look like at it’s best. If you rated it on a scale of 1-5, what does a “5” really look like in each area? For example, do family relationships at their best include a high amount of leisure quality time spent together? Do family dinners fall into that picture? How often would you be communicating?
- Scale yourself 1-5 in each area with how “successful” you feel in this area today. For example: you may feel at a “3.5” level in family relationships today.
- Since you cannot realistically target goals in each area of life, consider your assessment so far and pull out 1-2 areas of life where you may want to develop a goal for this year. Use your assessment so far to craft a goal that is specific and tangible.
- With the goal in mind, break it down into action steps. What action can you take each month to move closer to the goal? What about each week? Is there a daily action step that would constantly (and realistically) move you toward your goal?