Annual Goal Setting: Make it Personal

goal settingBy Dana Gillis, Executive Coach — I was recently reminded of how critical personal goal setting is, as I participated in a colleague-led facilitated workshop titled The Balanced Leader. One thought that remained with me post-workshop, relates to moving from, “your leadership vision, mission, and values . . .” to aspirations and action. How exactly do we go from ambition to accomplishment? And, how do we remember to even set personal goals when mapping out organizational goals?

Not This, But That

So where do you find the time to focus on self-development? There are only 24 hours in a day and between personal, family, and work demands, it can often seem that there’s never enough time to do everything.

Personal goal setting is so important, that reframing how we look at the limited resource of time is in order.  Twenty-four hours is composed of 1440 minutes. There are 86,400 seconds in 24 hours. Twenty-four hours may not seem like a lot of time, but imagine what you can do with 86,400 seconds! Not trying to trivialize walking the tightrope of work-life balance, but with so many seconds in each day, surely you can set aside some of those moments to focus on what matters to you and your personal development.

First Things First

The first step to meaningful goal setting is to focus on the task at hand. Find a place that allows you the solitude for uninterrupted contemplation. Before you think a single thought, take some deep breaths and focus on being present in the moment. Swat away the thoughts related to all the demands competing for your attention. You can get back to them with what’s left of your 86,400 seconds.

Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of where to get started in the goal-setting process? Don’t be. You don’t have to do it all at once. Start with one thing that matters — related to your personal life, the community you live in, or the work you do.

You might consider starting with examining your lifelong values. Define the things that are important to you and ask whether or not your behaviors align to the values you believe in. Do they guide the way you live and the way you lead? Ask yourself if what fulfills you aligns with what you think are your guiding principles. If the two are divergent, you’ll know where to expend your energy as you develop your personal goals for the coming year.

Want to take a longer-range view? Imagine what success looks like at the end of your career. Ask yourself questions that are similar to those asked in organizational goal setting. What will it take to get you there? What resources do you need? Who needs to help and support you along the way? Most importantly, what are the obstacles that might block your success?

Action Plan for Goal Setting (a tip of the hat to colleague Linda DeLuca)
  • Identify your goals for the year (no more than six)
  • Ensure the goals are aligned to your desired outcome
  • Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.  (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound)
  • WRITE YOUR GOALS DOWN – and refer to them often
    • Wash, rinse, repeat
  • Action Item:  Identify the very first step to move you toward achieving your goal

There’s no magic to personal goal setting. All it takes is a little effort on your part to reap the benefits of following a roadmap to Fearless success!