Setting goals is exactly like mapping out directions to a travel destination. You first have to know where you are going. Next, why are you going there, what do you hope to accomplish by getting there? Next, which route will you take, the most direct route or the scenic route? How will you get there, which vehicle? When do you want to get there? It is exactly the same for your personal and professional life and it doesn’t only refer to financial goals.
There are many areas in our lives that are important. Money is one of those areas but even that can be broken up into passive income, savings, and monthly budget income. Sometime, we kid ourselves into thinking that we don’t need to know how much we need and we just spend. When you have a goal, you begin to put your life into perspective and into categories of importance or priorities.
Health, time with loved ones/ family, business networks, friendships, spiritual, hobby time, and personal growth are some of the important areas in our life. We tend to focus on some and neglect others.
Also, remember that goals in each area have short term and long term goals. Short term goals usually taking 1- 12 months time to achieve and long term being described in years before they are reached. You should have both in each area.
While setting goals can be set at any time in our life and should be revised often as priorities change and goals are met, the beginning of the year is always a great place to start since it is a new beginning.
When you begin to think about goal setting, take into account where you want to go. For example, in health you may choose to set a goal for losing weight or doing more exercise or eating better. While these are the beginning of goals, if you remember it is much like planning a trip. It’s not enough to say you want to go somewhere, you must plan how you wish to get there, what actions need to happen, why is it important, and by when do you want to get there? If you want to lose 20 pounds, but you don’t plan how you are going to do it whether eating better or exercising or both and you set your goal to be completed in 1 month; you are setting yourself up for failure. One, you haven’t mapped out how you will meet your goal, two you haven’t made it personal by explaining and justifying why it’s important, and three you set an unrealistic time frame in which to make it happen.
A more realistic goal would be: I plan to lose 20 pounds by May 15, 2011. I will do aerobic exercise three times a week for 30 minutes and strength training twice a week for 30 minutes. In addition, I will make healthier choices by picking whole grains over white grains and by eating at least 4 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit a day. It is important that I reach this goal so that I will live longer for my family and so that I will have healthy triglyceride levels.
I know it sounds like a lot of thought but if you don’t map out the details you won’t come close to hitting your goal, you might even go so far as to not do anything at all to achieve your goal.