Ready. Set. Goal.

Posted by on January 8, 2010

In Alice in Wonderland, there’s a part where Alice is walking along a path and comes to a fork in the road, where she sees the Cheshire Cat. Alice asks, “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” The cat replies, “That depends a good deal on where you want to go.” Then, Alice answers, “I don’t much care where.” And the cat says, “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”Here we are at the beginning of a new year and we’re all going down a path.  Some of us might have shown up to work Jan. 4 simply going through the motions, walking into the office but not necessarily with purpose or with a defined plan.  And others of us are at least evaluating the year ahead but might not have put those plans or goals on paper just yet.  Still others, the high achievers in the bunch no doubt, have their goals mapped out and are already four days into tackling them!

The New Year’s time frame always puts me into a mode of dreaming about the possibilities of a clean slate, a chance to start over, leave last year’s baggage behind and tackle a new set of challenges.  Maybe that’s because I’m an entrepreneur and my New Year’s resolutions always start with “remain optimistic,” but I suspect there are others of you who share this mindset.

With that in mind, here’s a compilation of tips I’ve gathered from various goal-setting gurus like Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey and Ken Blanchard that can guide you as you set your path and define your destination this year.

  1. Dream It – Setting goals involves some blue-sky thinking, some dreaming about what you want to achieve and why; let yourself consider the possibilities with an open mind.
  2. Own It – You are unlikely to achieve your manager’s goal, your spouse’s goal or the goal you think you “ought” to work on this year.  It has to be your target and you have to want to hit it.
  3. Write It – Every goal-setting book you read will tell you to write them down.  Putting them in writing embeds them in our minds and is also a first step in committing to them.  You wouldn’t believe how many job candidates tell me they are “goal-oriented” but then say they’ve never written their goals down.  I question how many they’ve achieved.
  4. Show It – Visually representing your goals is a good way to keep them top-of-mind and a way to motivate you toward achievement.  One way to do this is to find a photo that represents each of your top goals and make a collage on one page.  This “photo mapping” technique has been used by many successful entrepreneurs to reach their goals.
  5. Share It – Determine a small circle of supporters [friends, colleagues, family members] and tell them about your top goals for the year.  Telling others keeps you accountable to your goals and also allows others to help you reach them.
  6. Celebrate It – Don’t just think about what your goals are; think about how you’ll reward yourself when you achieve them.  It’s important – at least in small ways – to appreciate your victories and celebrate success.

I hope these six tips will help you frame your goals this year and hit the targets you set.  And to leave you with a bit of inspiration to take on your 2010 journey…

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it.”
— Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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