I've written about goals previously here but this won't be exactly the same. What I want to discuss today are some strategies that I'm finding are helping me be more successful. In my previous post about overcoming injuries and obstacles I mentioned how last year (2016) I completed 5 out of 11 of the goals I'd set. Given that some were pretty big, even though I didn't quite hit 50% I still believed it to be a pretty successful year. The year prior, however, could certainly be viewed as a failure from a completion standpoint. Of the 8 goals I laid out, I came close to completing 1. That's it, one. Because of the way I write my goals, which I'll discuss shortly, I completed some goals within my goals but I was unable to string enough together to check off the box next to the headline. However, as I've discussed before I believe that failures offer opportunities and that's exactly what my 2015 goals and goal list did.
Like most people, I use to write a resolution list that was both far too ambitious and not nearly detailed enough. That was my 2014 list. Sometime during that year I made the decision that the term "resolution", right or wrong, had a negative connotation and I needed to change my terminology. It felt to me like using resolution meant I needed to fix something wrong while goals meant I was planning to build upon and improve things. Yes, they're basically the same thing but mentally one felt negative and the other positive so I made the simple change. From there I began to first break down my goals. Instead of simply listing, "write more", I'd make "write more" a header and beneath I'd further expand what that meant. In that example, write more meant to finish my first novel, enhance this blog, write 5 poems, and 5 short stories. (In this example I only met 1 by the way). It looked something like this.
1.) Write More
- Finish novel
- Enhance blog
- Write 5 poems
- Write 5 short stories
This was the first step and for awhile I thought this was satisfactory but while reviewing my goals at the end of the year, I made the decision that they still weren't detailed enough. So, in the next year I decided to take it a step further and also write out some plans for accomplishing my tasks. By that point the first draft of my novel was complete and I was on to the editing process. So now, now goals list looked more like this:
1.) Write More
- Finish editing
a.) Complete initial edit.
b.) Print copies for initial read and edit by others
- Enhance blog
a.) Write 2 posts per month
b.) Change layout to make more professional
(still working on this one clearly..)
This is an actual example and in general, this is as far as I go currently. That's in general though and not the rule. There are some subjects that I write more detailed or personal notes for. When it came to quitting chewing tobacco, I actually made a note to myself that eventually commonsense needed to overcome my addiction. When it comes to financial planning Shawna and I sit down together to try and plan things out because what one of us does directly affects the other. After meeting with a financial planner a few years ago we also try to make that section much more detailed. We're in the process of doing that one now and in honesty, it's no doubt the one that takes the longest to complete because it's the most complicated.
How one chooses to do their goals is important. I'm not saying that you have to do them the same as I do or anyone else but I do believe it's vital to be both realistic and to plan your attack. My goals list this year contains 11 that I consider reasonable and attainable. Improving financially, reading 25 books (a staple on my list that I have yet to achieve), writing, fitness, working and building on a couple business ventures, and a few others. None seem unreachable or unattainable and a couple are not meant to be completed this year. How is that possible? Because they're short term goals that are part of long terms plans. When I write out my plan I'm doing so with the intent to improve some things immediately, some by the end of the year, and some that will set me up to continue growing and improving in years to come. When you sit down to plan, really take some time to think about the who's, how's, where's, why's, and when's. You'll thank yourself later.
How and what are you looking to improve in 2017?