Monday, December 12, 2005

Goal Setting -- Day One

This week's posts are dedicated to the importance of setting goals and working toward achieving them in the new year.

"A Goal Not Written Down Is A Wish" - Anonymous

I am not sure who said it (A goal not written down is a wish), but is sums up the whole argument about setting goals. Most people want to achieve more in their personal and professional lives, and spend a lot of time day-dreaming, but few people take the time to actually set realistic and achievable goals. Fewer still write them down and refer to them regularly.

Basically they just "wish" things would get better.

There are many studies and statistics that show that those who set goals achieve more. The most famous is survey of the 1953 graduating class from Yale University (although I have read that some have argued these statistics are not accurate, it is still a compelling story):

In 1953, researchers surveyed Yale's graduating seniors to determine how many of them had specific, written goals for their future. The answer: 3%. Twenty years later, researchers polled the surviving members of the Class of 1953 and found that the 3% with goals had accumulated more personal financial wealth than the other 97% of the class combined!

No matter how you slice it, setting goals is a powerful tool. Imagine you were boarding a 747 for a flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Your pilot should have a fight plan that shows him how where he will be going. If the strong winds blow the plane of course, the pilot can make minor corrections along the way and guide you to a safe landing at your destination.

If the pilot decides to take off and fly west hoping to find Honolulu you are in big trouble. There is an awful lot of blue on the map west of California. Finding the right place to land would be difficult without a plan.

Just like a flight plan, your goals help you set the course for where you are going in your life. When you get off course or encounter unexpected obstacles, knowing where you are going makes it easier for you to make decisions.

With the new year approaching, many people take advantage of this time to create "Resolutions". While I believe you should be creating, reviewing and revamping your goals all year long, this part of the year is an ideal time to begin.Take stock of where you are right now in your life (both personally and professionally). Review 2005's (both the successes and the failures). And finally, think about what you would like to accomplish over the next 12 months.

Have A Great Day.

Thom Singer

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