You should know going in that you will fail at some of these goals. Even the best goal setter accomplishes only about 80% of the goals she sets out at the beginning of the year. Priorities change, life happens, etc. However, if you refuse to set goals, the 80% will never happen.
Also, setting goals is a pain. It will take a toll on your emotions and force you to think through things you normally assume will work out on their own. But it is always worth it.
As a helpful tool you should check out Chris Gullebeau’s book, “The Art of Non-Conformity”. It will get you in the right mindset for goal setting and remind you that life change is possible. If you would rather not pay for a book, check out Chris’ website chrisguillebeau.com. His website was the first place I heard about Conducting An Annual Review. Chris’ blog inspired me to Start 2011 Off Right. I even used his Annual Review Template to create this year’s goals.
The 7 Goal Categories
There are 7 major goal categories you need to focus on:
- Personal Growth
- Financial (broken into Income, Savings, and Giving)
You need some idea of where you are going in each of these seven categories. Start by taking each category, one at a time, and thinking through what you would like to accomplish in it. Do you want to learn how to cook? How about read the Bible in a year? Are you aching to start a small business? What about getting out of debt? Remember, goals must be specific, measurable, your own goals, have a time limit, and be written down. If you are missing any of these qualifications, you do not have a goal.
My 2011 Goals
Some of my 2011 goals are:
- Spiritual: memorize 12 passages of scripture.
- Family: take 1 non-business non-honeymoon vacation with my wife.
- Personal Growth: read 36 books (12 theology, 12 business, 12 misc).
- Social: hang out for lunch or dinner with a good friend twice a month.
- Financial: save $2,000 in retirement.
- Health: walk 4–5 times a week.
- Business: update entreprelife.com 72 times.
You will notice that none of these goals can be done instantly. At this stage you want to stay broad. You should not work out every detail; instead create specific benchmarks that let you know you succeeded.
You need goals in all 7 areas. I work for a minimum of three goals in each area. Anything less and I feel like I am not pushing myself enough. You may want more or less and that is totally up to you. Be honest with yourself; fifteen goals in each area is unrealistic and one goal per area is not going to challenge you.
Are you ready to take the plunge and set 2011 goals? Decide today when you are going to have your 2011 goals written down and ready to accomplish. For me, that date was November 15th (which I barely accomplished).
There are two main ways I recommend you do this:
- Set aside an hour or two, every day for seven days, to set goals in one area per day.
- Or (foolishly like me) have a massive goal setting marathon where you hammer out your 2011 goals in all seven areas in one four hour sitting.
I do not recommend the second plan unless you are seriously short on time or you just like being emotionally exhausted.
Now that your goals are written down, there is only one thing left to do: create a theme for your year. For me, 2011 is The Year of Massive Change. On December 31st, my life will not be what it was on January 1st in any of the seven areas. What is your theme? Keep it broad and have fun with it. The Year of Massive Change is fun to say and to write! That is part of the reason I chose it. Pick a theme that represents both who you are and what you will accomplish. And do it last. Do not pick your theme until you know what your goals are, otherwise you will choose goals that fit the theme instead of goals that fit you.
What is your 2011 Goal Setting Deadline? Let me know in the comments.