My goal setting strategy for the past two years has been very simple. Regardless of what aspect of my life I am setting a goal for (business, finance, health, hobbies, personal) this is how I break them down.
I am going to skip all of the “measurble, attainable, specific” type of stuff you read in every self help book and blog known to man. That info is not new, so I will not repeat it. One thing I think that goes overlooked is that goals need to be broken down into short, mid term (I view this as three to six months) and long term (six months out or more).
Every month I write down my goals and check on the progress of previous ones. At the top of the goal category I have short term goals, followed by mid-term, followed by long term. I often make notes on how I will achieve each one. Sometimes I have to make adjustments, but I find this simple process typically keeps me on task and focused. It is critical that you put your goals somewhere where you will refer to them regularly. I used to email my goals to myself. They would then get so buried in my inbox that I would forget them or lose track of them. For me, nothing works better than 3×5 cards or half size legal pads that stay on the desk where I blog and do paperwork every evening.
I know I’m not doing anything ground breaking here, but if you don’t have some method of managing your goals they tend to be like fall leaves, they just blow around in the wind. Finally, no matter what you want to do or what the time horizon is, you must ask the following: “What is it I want to do?” “How long will it take me?” “How much am I willing to pay?” Remember, “how much you are willing to pay” can come in many forms and there ARE NO FREE LUNCHES! No matter what it is you want to do, you will give something up to get it. If owning a house in a certain neighborhood is a goal, there is a dollar cost. If running a marathon is your goal, you will pay in time and effort. If you want to start a business, you’re going to have to put in the hours and risk the capital. There ARE NO FREE LUNCHES.
In other news, my wife to be started http://www.halhigdon.com ‘s novice 5K program today while I knocked out a half hour on the treadmill today. I am very happy to have her at the gym with me again. I am anxious to get back to running on the road but given the holiday time constraints and ridiculous weather, I am thankful I have an uncrowded gym just up the road that always seems to have a treadmill open.