What are You Going to Give up to Hit Your Goal?

I’m sure all of your other blogs have covered goal setting for the year already.  I mean it is February.  My thought is that if you are reading this and you haven’t already set your goals, then this is the perfect time for you to get this gentle cattle prodding.

For those of you who have set goals, statistics tell us you are about to give up (most people do by Valentine’s Day).  Stick with it!  Read on to see what to do and how I did this last year.

The first thing I suggest that you do is re-read one of my very earliest articles on this site.

Did you do it?  Good.  Were you just lying to me?  Please go read the article. It is critical to your success to do what that article recommends and I want you to succeed.

Now this year I want to add a question to the goal setting exercise:  What are you going to give up to hit your goal? It really is an eye opener when you apply it to your own list of goals.  Asking this question will sometimes refocus you faster than the goal itself.

Here is how I did for the year:

Spiritual = 50% of goals met.  I did not give up enough TV time in the evenings to hit all goals.

Intellectual = 150%. I actually made more time to read than I thought I would.  I learned that self improvement books are not as girly as I first thought.  Some are junky but some actually make a difference.  All were more interesting to read than I was expecting.  If I had not set a specific measurable goal here I am fairly certain I would have failed.

Physical = 66%. I set a tough but doable schedule for myself.  The intention was not to get ridiculously fast or strong, but to exercise regularly.  Part of the problem was illness.  I don’t think any of these missed marks were from not giving up enough.

Family = 33%. Obviously this one involves Melanie too.  In my opinion, we didn’t make enough of an effort in the evenings.  I don’t know how you’d phrase that in terms of giving something up.  We opted to plop our tired bodies in front of the TV or asleep in bed instead of something meaningful.

Financial = 0%. My goals revolved around my self employment.  I was not willing to give up the free work I was doing for my family, friends and church.  Certainly my worst area of performance.  I didn’t need this list to remind me, but it does help.  It is a bit of a pick-me-up to see that I moved the ball forward in all other areas of my life this year.

Career = 33% This one is a little deceptive since I did bits and pieces of things but only fully completed a couple.  I actually feel pretty good about how I did with this one.  Like the financial category, this one will feature paying work for 2011.

I hit 42% of my goals overall, which I’m fine with.  I would have been really happy with even 50%.  The intention of goals is not to hit every single one.  It is to focus you to move forward and to do it with purpose and direction.

As I look over the 2010 list for the last time, it is readily apparent to me that I achieved more than I would have if I hadn’t had the list.  In the intellectual area it is really obvious to me that it was a big help.  I was able to take a big task and segment it in to monthly challenges.  It kept me on track and make bad books fun.  Even if I didn’t like what I was reading, it provided a check mark on the list.  Maintaining that positive attitude is so critical.

Also, printing out our list of goals and putting on the refrigerator really helped.  We made a point of reviewing them when we reviewed our monthly budget.

I would love to hear from you in the comments.  Did you make any goals for last year?  How did you do?  Are you planning for 2011?  What kinds of things are you trying to achieve?

Geeeve us a Goooaal

When I was in middle school, my brother and father got to see two international soccer teams compete locally.  The teams were traveling around the US promoting pro soccer.  Apparently we had some international fans that either lived in town or traveled with the team.  These fans were really into the game and chanted over and over “Geeve us a goooaal.”  I don’t remember if my dad or brother enjoyed the game but I can still vividly remember the post-game chanting that could be heard throughout our house.  They loved that chant and I’m reminded of it now as I set my goals for the new year.

Those of you that know me well know that I’ve not been a fan of self-help or self-improvement books nor a big goal setter.  To-do lists have always been my friends (many times to my detriment) and I’ve never shied away from reading a how-to book or dreaming dreams, but goals are different.

Things began to change for me about two years ago.  I was given Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover which could be the subject of its own post or entire section on this site.  It was the first self-help book that delivered for me.  Since then I have really begun to see the power of setting specific goals for yourself.  You get more done, you stay more focused, you are less easily overwhelmed and your accomplishments are usually more meaningful.  I have seen big changes in my finances and physical health and this year I am expecting improvement in other areas as well.

I could go on but many people have written on this subject already and I think Dave sums it up extremely well in this four-minute podcast.

Goals Must:
1.  Be Written
2.  Be Specific
3.  Be Measurable
4.  Have a Time Limit

Areas (From Inside to Out):
1. Spiritual
2. Intellectual
3. Physical
4. Family
5. Financial
6. Career

So take some time before 1/12th of your year is gone to act on this.  The days are lined up and ready to come out the chute.  They stand at attention chanting “Geeve us a goooaal.”