Posts Tagged ‘Goals’

The Beginning of The End: 6 steps to making the most of the rest of 2009

After today we will be in the month of October. OCTOBER . . .  2009!?!

I’m literally taking a moment to digest how nine whole months have flown by . . . . . OK! Moment Over.

With about 90 days (92 days to be exact) left in 2009, I want to mention 6 steps using the Achievers Focusing System (click image below to enlarge) from Success Principles to make the latter part of 2009 your best yet.

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Step 1 – FOCUS AREA: In what aspect of your life do you want to make the most impact?

The Achievers Focusing System has divided areas of life into seven

  • Finance & Wealth
  • Career
  • Free Time
  • Health and Appearance
  • Relationship
  • Personal Development
  • Community & Charity

When the year began, you probably thought about making a change in 1 or more of these categories and somewhere along the way that got lost in translation (9 months wheezing by can do that). No matter, a lot can still be done in 90 days by making minute and incremental changes.

By the yard it’s hard, but inch by inch anything’s a cinch – Brian Tracy

Instead of trying to cover all these areas at once, start by selecting the most important area where you want change and then select the next most important area and so on.  Consequently, you will be creating a ranking system for the next three months.

Step 2 – GOALS: What are your goals for the rest of the year?

Write down one goal in the area(s) that you have chosen previously. Using the document, this can be written in the boxes provided.

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This is where problems arise. In defining goals, they have to be measurable i.e. there has to be some sort of finish-line related to  an accomplishment and/or  time frame. The lack of a time frame usually results in complacency. The lack of defined accomplishments usually results in a loss of interest and boredom. Using goal #1 above, I will have to pay off $1,000 in the next 3 months. With this, I have defined the accomplishment and the time-frame. How can you measure the goal you want to attain? Is it a series of accomplishments or is it one you can measure with time?

Step 3 – ACTIVITIES: What steps need to be taken to accomplish this goal?

Outline the necessary steps to completing this goal. This can be done using the time-frame or accomplishments as a guide. The point of doing this is breaking down the goal into manageable chunks. By so doing, the viability of the goal is maintained and it would seem neither large nor looming.

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For my goal, here’s what I’m thinking:

Time frame based

Accomplishment based

  • October 31st: Have paid $334
  • November 31st: Have paid $667
  • December 31st:  Have paid $1000
  • Pay off first credit card ($173)
  • Pay off half of second credit card ($413.5)
  • Pay off half of second credit card ($413.5)

In addition, list some non-activities as well i.e. activities you shouldn’t engage in which will also help with accomplishing your goals.

  • Leave credit cards at home ALWAYS
  • Pay for purchases using checking account

Using the Achievers Focusing System, these activities are then spread out over 12 weeks. This allows for looking at the overall picture while keeping track of the activities spread out over the 90 days.

Step 4 – SMALL VICTORIES: What happens when you complete an activity?

Sometime ago I mentioned how celebrating small victories are essential to boosting morale. As you slowly advance towards your goal week by week, remember to take a moment to digest how far you have come. This moment of reflection can be used:

  • to further fine-tune future activities
  • to ensure that the pace is still being kept
  • to rest before going on to the next task

Once each activity is completed, take a breath and congratulate yourself on making it this far. For me I will take great joy in seeing Balance: $0.00 and I will also update my account at NetworthIQ at the end of every month because seeing that bump provides additional motivation. Then keep pressing on knowing that you are closer than when you first started.

Step 5 – ACCOUNTABILITY: Should I involve others in my goal?

The Achievers Focusing System includes a section for an Accountability Partner. This is the person who you have shared your goals with and you know will be a willing motivator in your cause to improve. Sometimes goals are like a new toy: you play with it for a few days excitedly; then over time, the excitement fades and the toy starts to collect dust. This is when your partner(s) can help to dust off some of that dust and remind you of what you set out to do.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw everything that hinders . . . . and let us run with perseverance the race set out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Your accountability partner serves as that witness to your commitment to yourself in that area of your life.

Step 6 – FINISH LINE: When does my goal end?

As mentioned in the beginning, this goal(s) should be tailored to cover the remaining 3 months/12 weeks/92 days of the year. Therefore while striving to complete each activity always keep in mind your finish line by:

  • Tick off the days on the calendar
  • Cross out your to-do list each week
  • Little steps will yield great results

By so doing, you are constantly reminded of where you are trying to go

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Image courtesy of Mr. Mystery

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First of the Month: Whatever happened to those New Year Resolutions?

sunrise

It’s the first of September today and as with the beginning of a new day, new month or a new year we are often inclined to set new goals/resolutions. I think it’s like having a clean slate, so like kids in a candy store we excited to just get home and start writing on the slate.  I’m excited about the new month too, so I decided to look back at the goals I set at the beginning of the year and see how far I have come.

When 2009 began, I made 10 resolutions and I sent them to my girlfriend to look over to hold me accountable to them. This is exactly what I sent:

  1. Eliminate 1.5 credit cards (Completed and Retooled)
  2. Save $1000 and put in a mutual fund or CD (Completed and Retooled)
  3. Write two papers (On-going)
  4. Cardio (Run or Bike) 3 times a week (Retooled)
  5. Don’t drink soda (On-going)
  6. Lift twice a week (Retooled)
  7. Sleep 6 hours (On-going)
  8. Read 1 book per month (4 non-fiction books read so far)
  9. Listen to 1 motivational tape per month (5 series completed)
  10. Graduate or at least be close to it i.e. proposal done and defended, comprehensive exam passed, experiments completed and in the process of writing dissertation at the minimum (Retooled)

This email was dated January 9th 2009, and I’m not even sure she remembers the contents of this email. It was the first time I had made resolutions and actually documented them and sent them to someone and not just chucked it away in my head.  All the books and tapes I have read and listened to always stress the importance of attaching activities to your goals essentially breaking down these goals to manageable chunks. Fortunately, I stumbled on resources from Success Principles (a book by Jack Canfield co-author of the Chicken Soup Series), specifically the Achievers Focusing System (Quarterly Breakdown) and Daily Success Focus Journal (Daily Breakdown). I also created a weekly sheet for myself too (Download here). Now I know that’s a lot of writing and a lot of paper, but at the time I wasn’t sure what method worked the best for me. Should I break down activities on a daily basis? Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? Biennially? It was all so confusing and I decided to try as many as I could and see what worked best for me. Currently, my system has been boiled down to a Quarterly Tracking and a spiral notebook for the daily to-do list. I especially like the Achievers Focusing System I mentioned above because it splits down goals into 7 areas (same concept I used in the weekly system):

  • Financial & Wealth
  • Career
  • Free Time
  • Health & Appearance
  • Relationship
  • Personal Development
  • Community & Charity

These resources aren’t anything fancy, but they have helped to keep me on my toes and aware of my progress.

9 months have passed since those resolutions were made. It’s a new month (new school year for some),  and there’s no need to wait for 2010 to renew this commitment and neither should you. Hopefully these resources here are useful or just type “goal organizer” (or something) into Google and I am sure there’s something out there.

As long as those goals are written somewhere, you have a reminder to check back on. As Tony Horton (of P90X fame) always says “Write it down. How can you know what to do if you don’t know what you did?”

If you’re wondering how I am doing on my resolutions, I have details on my Goal Report and yea . . . there’s a lot left to be done.

Picture courtesy of http://internetmedianews.files.wordpress.com