Well, it’s that time of the year again…
Resolutions! (Ugggghhh….I hate resolutions!)
Guess what? I don’t make resolutions. I set goals. Why, you ask? Well when you resolve to do something, you are resolving to DO something. DO implies acting (which is important, you can’t resolve something without action.) However, if you aren’t taking the right actions, what you “resolve” to do might not matter to begin with. If, instead, you to choose a target, rather than just acting with the same ol’ same ol’. (Going to the gym, getting out of debt, etc.) How are you going to know when you’ve reached your goal unless you’ve defined it clearly? Don’t be a wandering generality, be a meaningful specific. That’s a quote from Zig Ziglar, and it’s his goals program that I want to highlight today.
I was introduced to Zig’s program through Seth Godin’s Pick Four book. Seth listened to and listened to over and over again Zig’s motivational tapes during a rough patch in his early adult years, to the point where he wrote down Zig’s goals process and began implementing it. And it worked. About four years ago, Seth reformatted it and tweaked it in a small spiral bound book that is intended to be used in a 90 day period. It is something I’ve been using, and I’m going to review it here.
1.) Setting goals works. First of all, you must choose something, and in doing so, you are not choosing the others. One possibility out of others. And in doing so, you are saying “this is something I care about, this is something I will devote my energy to.” So….choose wisely. (I think I’ve mentioned that before elsewhere.)
2.) Become like a child sitting on Santa’s lap. Take about a half day and just dream. Dream big. It’s okay. Write. Down. EVERYTHING. Even silly stuff. Then sleep on it. Take another half day. Do it again. Sleep on it. Then take a look at your list. Eliminate anything that is obviously beyond the laws of physics or that can’t be supported by science. Then eliminate anything that, well, just clearly isn’t plausible. (Ok, the Queen of England is NOT going to call you up and ask you to go on a secret mission….dreaming big is ok. Unmitigated fantasy is not.) List them into these categories: Career, Family, Financial, Mental, Physical, Social/Emotional, Spiritual. If one category is out of balance over the others, dream up a few more goals. “Let’s assume that the overriding purpose of your goals is to live a life that benefits others, one that you’re proud of, one that allows you to reach your potential – does your list reflect that?” For each item ask “What happens to me and the people I care about if I reach this goal?” If you can’t come up with an answer that satisfies you, eliminate this goal. A goal you don’t care about isn’t a goal you are going to be able to work hard to achieve. If there are contradictions in the list, you’re going to have to make some choices to whittle down the list a bit more.
3.) Choose from your categorized list four goals. Only four for now. Start out this quarter small, and after a few wins under your belt, add more goals to your list of actively pursued goals.
For each goal, ask these questions:
A.) What will this goal look like when it’s completed? How will I actually know when I’ve completed my goal?
B.) What are the benefits from reaching this goal?
C.) What skills or knowledge are required to reach this goal?
D.) What are the major obstacles to overcome and mountains to climb in order to reach this goal?
E.) Who are the individuals and organizations I need to partner with to help me reach this goal?
F.) What is the plan for reaching this goal? (Write it out; tell it like a story.)
4.) After fleshing your goals out, it’s time to get started. Get a notebook or journal, and for each day, Monday through Friday, (you get Saturdays off,) follow the following format:
Steps I took today to achieve this goal: ______________________(use as much space as needed.)
Is this enough? YES NO
If you didn’t do anything toward reaching a goal, write “NOTHING” in the blank space. Not to shame you, but you do need to feel a bit of negative stimulus if you are not consistently putting out effort.
On Sunday, you have a week in review. This is important. Ask these questions and write the answers:
Highlights from last week:__________________________
What got in the way/What didn’t work?:________________
What I learned from what didn’t work: _________________
You need the honest reflection so you can make mid course corrections. If something isn’t working, do something else. If you find a bunch of “NOTHING” s in your daily steps, then maybe you need to re-evaluate if you really want this goal.
As Seth writes, “Drip, drip, drip, things get done, progress is made, and goals are accomplished.”
Goals require effort, as resolutions do. The up front passion and determination of resolutions are great, but without a workable plan, then the envisioned glory fades quickly when friction and push back hits. Taking the time to define clearly and FEEL strongly at a core, even a spiritual level are both necessary to make significant progress. And the daily drip of accumulation will spur you on if you track it and record it.
Here’s to a prosperous and productive 2017!