‘Tis the season for goal setting, at least that has always been the case for me this time of year. In fact, my wife turned to me last night and said “so, what are your goals for 2012?” Before I share with you my answers, let me share with you my perspective on goal setting.
I’m a big believer in annual goals. I think they provide a great way for each of us to stay on track and to measure / monitor how we are doing along the way and how we did during the past year. I’m an even bigger believer in setting “inspirational goals.” What do I mean by inspirational goals, you may ask? Let’s go back to last week’s post. The word “inspiration” is from the Latin “inspiratus” which loosely translates to “breathing in the spirit” (Online Etymology Dictionary). When we feel inspired it feels like our spirit is fully alive inside of us. Inspirational goals are the goals that get us to stretch closer to who we are… closer to our spirit. They are the goals and accomplishments that we dream of but we get too mired in practicality to ever take them on. If achieved, they are also the goals that can spark inspiration in others. Think of inspirational goals as tombstone goals – you would want others to remember you and your life by how you took these on.
Look back on the two posts prior to this one (Have you forgotten who you are? & What if you had one year left to live?). With some good answers to those questions in hand, you are ready for some serious goal setting. One note on goal setting: In addition to the standard stuff that we all know about good goals – specific, measurable, actionable, etc… I would add a quote from a mentor of mine: “change is hard, what is the easiest way you can make it happen?” Keep your goals to a minimum, the fewer the better.
Consider the following categories for your “inspirational goals”:
- What is one dream that you could start in 2012? This could be a work related goal (opening a restaurant, becoming a novelist, etc…) or non-work-related (running a marathon, traveling the world, losing 50lbs., learning to paint, etc…). I remember when I turned down a lucrative consulting job offer to start my own practice, I was feeling nervous and scared, wondering if I should wait until I was ready (did I mention I had a 3 year old and a new born at the time?). Then I remembered all of the entrepreneurs I had ever heard speak. Not one of them ever said “I wish I had waited.” If anything, they lamented that they waited too long. Things get harder with each passing year… not easier. Start today.
- What is one career stretch goal you could take on in 2012? Maybe it’s going back to school or going for that promotion. Or maybe it’s repositioning yourself where you work – rebranding yourself. Whatever it may be, make it your goal to reinvent yourself next year into the person you want to be at work and in your career.
- What is one relationship you want to improve upon in 2012? Every year I set a goal to improve one relationship in my life. It could be with a family member or a co-worker. Up to you who you choose, but I encourage you to only pick one relationship to work on. Picking only one makes it front and center in your mind and increases your likelihood that you’ll do something with it throughout the year. An odds are that you’ll have to be the first to make a move in whatever relationship you pick (you’re not gonna pick a rockin’ relationship… it’s likely gonna have some degree of distance or estrangement). It will require effort, risk and a twinge of fear – a perfect recipe for inspiration! Trust me, if you take this on, you won’t be disappointed.
Do you have your answers? Going back to my wife’s question to me last night, here are my answers. I know you’ve been dying with suspense. I’m working on that book project I always dreamed of. I’m going to make a T.V. pilot happen (doesn’t the world need more workplace therapy? Move over Dr. Phil), and for my relationship goal, well I’ve got one, and would normally be happy to share (drop me an e-mail if you really want to know), but that person may be reading this right now. In fact, it’s probably you. Send me an e-mail and I’ll buy you lunch.
Overall, it’s a lot for me to take on. I get that. But I know that if I can pull them off, I’d feel good about way the way I lived 2012. And more importantly, I’d be modeling the life I want my kids to live – A life of courage, risk and inspiration. After all, isn’t that what we all want for our lives at the end of the day?