For the last few years I have posted – near the end of December or sometimes early January – about the importance of setting GOALS for the upcoming year – you can check those out here, here or here – and the strategies I employ to ensure I don’t waste the next 8784 hours.
Ever consider it in those terms? Yeah – me neither.
But that’s what you have this year – that’s what we all have. Eight THOUSAND seven HUNDRED eighty four HOURS to live, love and become whatever it is we believe God’s called us to be – or do!
And we only have that many in 2016 because it’s a Leap Year!
Looking at it like that – in hours not days, weeks, or months for me – it takes on a whole new almost scary realism.
Ever hear someone say “oh, we have all the time in the world”…well now you know that does not even total 10 thousand total hours in a year.
Good thing you want to set some GOALS.
There are many sites and many writers that acknowledge the importance of goal setting and many of them subscribe to the SMART system. I personally have no problem with this formula – the acronym I am going to introduce you to today is similar in many ways – but I believe that brevity is the key to everything I do.
It’s true in stand up – using the least amount of words necessary to get to the punch line – and it’s true of goal setting.
For those that don’t know “SMART” is an acronym itself and it means:
S – Specific, M -Measurable, A – Attainable, R – Realistic, T – Timely
All very important in the realm of goal setting and if that’s the system you choose I will not begrudge you one bit. For me any goal setting you do is better than doing nothing and if setting SMART goals is better for you then by all means use that system.
GOALS is simply my spin on an old classic – like a cover version or a really good but different arrangement of a classic song. I have heard a few covers that I prefer to the originals – except Beatles tunes NO ONE has redone or out done the originals there.
And let’s face it – the SMART system is no Fab Four.
So here is this year’s new and improved or sightly borrowed and refined way to set measure and achieve your 2016 GOALS.
G – Good. Make them GOOD. Seems simple enough but if they’re not good you’re NEVER going to stick with them. Don’t set a goal to climb a mountain if you hate the cold. A mountain may not start off that way but WAAAAAAY before you reach the summit you’ll wish you packed a sweater. So make your goal a good one. Something that you can stay motivated about. If you’ve never picked up a barbell I would not recommend setting a goal of benching 200lbs by the end of the year – unless you’re planning an using PEDs and I would NOT recommend you start those. Unless one of your other goals is to sing soprano.
O – Obtainable. Almost a foolish idea to think that you’d set a goal that you could not obtain but the truth is at this time of year that – like our eyes being bigger than our appetites at Golden Corral – our ambition for the new year is larger than our capacity to obtain. Now hear me out – I AM NOT saying you cannot accomplish your goals or dreams – the biggest impact I want to have on you this side of seeing you start, deepen or grow your relationship with Jesus Christ is to encourage and support you in finding your life’s calling and often that can be nicely wrapped up in a good year of goal setting and accomplishment. However – often we set unrealistic goals – see G above. If you’re working full time, going to school, have a family and are heavily involved in other activities do not set reading a book a week as a goal. As a wise man once said “…that’s inconceivable…”. Why? Because it is. You’re already too busy. Trying to read a book a week with everything else you have on your plate is not just setting a bad goal but it’s setting you up to fail and that IS NOT what we want in 2016. Set backs? OK but NO Failures. Make your GOALS obtainable.
A – Accurate and Accountable. I kind of cheated here allowing the “A” to stand for two ideas – the truth is I have a third “A” hanging out in the wings in case you’re interested. I toyed with the idea of making this 2016 GOAAALS – but I didn’t want to come off like a soccer announcer. To make your goals accurate I mean you need details. Action points. Things to work toward you know like goals – this is where the other “A” comes in. OK – I’ll give it to you -it’s ACTIONABLE. You need pin point clarity in setting your goals. A score of 219 won’t cut it here either. Only a 220 or higher will earn you your Expert GOAL Setter badge – and you cannot count on anyone else hitting your target or extra points. But you should get some help which bring me to the other official “A”.
A – Accountable. There is nothing that replaces accountability when it comes to goal setting. I hardily believe that without some help and support your goals will be the same place at the end of December that they are when you put them away after you write them. Unseen, unaccomplished and on the scrap heap of humanity’s failure to do squat with your year. Don’t end up on the scrap heap of humanity. My recommendation here though is to limit the number of people you allow into your inner sanctum. I have a couple of friends that act as accountability partners. They know what I say I want to accomplish in the next year and they keep on me if I start to get lazy. Telling too many people can sometimes have a negative affect – such as mentally telling yourself that you’ve already completed the goal because you’ve talked about it in the past tense. So – one or two people – three if you have small but tight group – that you can trust.
L – Long Term. Long term goals can surpass the end of the next calendar year – and that’s OK. The idea is to not set goals that are so huge you cannot make an progress on them and end up quitting them next Tuesday because you’re overwhelmed. For example – you might have a great idea for a rock opera. Awesome – I am already excited for you. The problem is you’ve never played anything but the radio. Does that mean you cannot create your operatic masterpiece? Of course not – but doing by the end of 2016 is highly unlikely. So – what’s an untrained future rock icon to do? Unless you can travel into the future and teach your younger self how to play then you need lessons right here in good ‘ole 2016. Start with guitar or piano but start small. Learn to play some chords and a couple songs. Then move on to reading music and whatever else you need to complete your goal – but give yourself space and time to succeed. In fact – that’s exactly where the “S” in GOALS is going to come in.
S – Short Term. I am all for setting HUGE monstrous mind blowing GOALS! I want us all to end our time on Earth being awesome. But I try to be realistic in my approach. All goals are good. What? that’s not what I said for “G” – right. No – I said if they’re not good for you they’re not good. I believe there need to be crazy big GOALS in your life – we can call those DREAMS – think there might be a post about in the future? For example – one of my GOALS is to write and or star in a sitcom or movie. But from where I am right now – an aspiring comedian – that particular GOAL is more of a dream. Bur just because I cannot walk into a Hollywood studio and get a movie or TV deal does not mean I can’t work on smaller steps to be in a position LATER that will open a door or two and perhaps lead to a deal. I plan to hit several open mics a week next year. Get on more stages. Do more networking – talk about stepping outside my comfort zone. But all those things and others that I have planned will help me realize the longer term GOAL. Call it a matter of perspective. If I get to 31 DEC 2016 and do not have a TV deal but I am getting calls to come tell jokes – and God willing someone will pay me – then the year will not be wasted and I will actually be closer to my TV/movie GOAL.
G – Good, O – Obtainable, A – Accurate/Accountable (Actionable), L– Long Term, S– Short Term.
There are two things to add that don’t really have a place in the acronym.
The first is writing all this down. I firmly believe that if you fail to write down you GOALS they are as doomed as if you’d simply made some random New Year’s resolutions. Or as I like to call them “Nest Year’s Regrets”. A line from a Tom Clancy novel I once read said that if you don’t write it down it never existed.
I paraphrased but he did say it.
The other is to review your GOALS. I believe it is best to do this once every three months or as you complete a goal or if you have made an “S” Short Term GOAL then you evaluate where you stand then. My feeling is that if you put it off until the end of the year you’ll lose track and not work on what you considered important enough to write down in the next couple days.
So there you have them. My action steps for setting and achieving your GOALS in 2016.
Have a great New Year and keep the acorn spinnin’
What are some of the tools or tricks you use to reach your GOALS? Sep up to the mic and leave a comment or two.