Are You Better Off Today Than You Were A Year Ago?

Now is the time, as business slows down for the holidays, to evaluate what you have and have not accomplished in 2013 and why.  In most cases if you failed to set goals or write them down you probably are not where you thought you would be right now.
I have been a goal setter since I was in college and the military but setting a goal is not enough.  Writing them down and focusing on them every day is the only way to achieve them.  There is an old saying: “if you are not pursuing your goals you are probably pursuing someone else’s.”
From experience, I set three categories of goals: business, personal and social.  For my business goals I write specific things I want to accomplish for the companies I am responsible for.  For my personal goals, I list things I want to accomplish that will make me a better person or more accomplished.  Personal goals may include learning a second language, learning how to play an instrument, gaining a professional license of some kind, etc.  For social goals, I focus on how I can help people either by donating time, money or both to causes I feel strongly about.
I write down goals in each category and place them in two picture frames on the vanity in my bathroom.  Positioning my goals in my bathroom forces me to see them at least twice a day; when I wake up in the morning and before I go to bed at night.  When I leave for the office my goals are clear and in my head and when I go to bed they are on my mind. 
It is very easy to get distracted from pursuing your goals unless you write them down.  How many times have you looked at your smart phone on your way to work to realize that your day is not going as planned?  If you are in management your job is to solve problems.  Problems are the biggest distracters of achieving your goals.  They force you off track in some cases and delay your plans.  However, I have found that sometimes problems create opportunities and often the opportunity is masked by the problem.  If your goals are on your mind then you will have an easier time at recognizing opportunity when facing problems.  In most cases you can position yourself to move closer to your goal as you solve the problem.
I am sure you have heard the expression “How do you eat an elephant?” with the answer “one bite at a time.”  Most people who set goals get disappointed when they do not achieve their goals in a short time frame and abandon their quest immediately thereafter.  The most common form of this is the New Year’s resolution.  By the end of January many people have stopped pursuing their goals.
Often times you stop pursuing your goals because the goal you have set may be too large for the timeframe you have given yourself to achieve it in.  It is not a bad thing to fall short of a chosen goal.  I assure you that when you fall short you have accomplished something toward the goal.  The point is without the goal you would not even accomplish as much as you had in missing the goal.  I have set the same goal year after year and eventually I was able to achieve it however each year I developed the skill or knowledge to be able to accomplish the goal.
Make 2014 the best year of your life by writing down your goals and reviewing them every day.  You will be amazed at the results you achieve regardless of where you work or what the economy is like.
This will be our last posting for 2013.  Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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