Goals: What-Why-How

October – November – December. These are the last three months left in the year 2004. Three months from now, we will be hearing about goals, or what we call New Year’s Resolutions. These are the goals that are set at the beginning of the year and for the most part forgotten by the end of January.

We often start out well and then fall into the same old patterns.

So with only 3 months left in the year 2004, let’s take a look at how to finish the year well. What would you like to have accomplished by the end of the year? You might want to pick up a goal you set back in January and have since forgotten, or you might have some new goals that you would like to achieve before the year is over

Whether an old goal or a new goal, you really need to answer only three questions:

What do you want?

Why do you want it?

How will you get there?

What do you want?

In order to have a goal you need to have a what. I realize that’s no great insight. The problem is when most of us set goals, we are much too general. For example, in seminars on goal setting, someone in the audience will usually say "I want to make more money." Sometimes, to make this point, I’ll then reach in my pocket and hand them a dollar bill. They look at me kind of funny, but the point is this: they set a goal of more money, I gave them a dollar, so they met their goal. It’s not what they had in mind, however. I usually let them keep the dollar. Doing seminars can get expensive.

The what of your goal needs to be both specific and precise. In the example above about making more money, being specific would mean defining exactly how much more money. Adding precision would involve defining how much more by when. When do you want it?

Being vague when setting goals just about guarantees failure. Being precise and specific focuses your energy on exactly what you want, and makes success much more likely.

Why do you want it?

Knowing exactly why you want something increases your passion and focus, and in times of struggle keeps you working when it might be easier to give up.

Questions to ask to help you clarify why you want something are:

-what benefits will this bring into my life?

-what will I be able to do once I reach this goal that I could not have done before?

-how will this benefit the people that I care about?

-how will I feel about myself after I have achieved this goal?

The more exciting and compelling you can make the why of your goal, the easier it will be to create the how.

How will you get there?

It’s so much easier to create an action plan for getting there once you know where you are going and why you want to get there. An action plan is simply a map that will show you how to get where you want to go.

Questions to ask to develop an action plan are:

– who has already achieved the goal that I want and what can I learn from them? No need to reinvent the wheel here folks.

– what resources do I already have that will help me?

– what resources do I need to acquire to help me along the way?

– how can I break this down into small manageable pieces that I can work on every day?

– whose help do I need?

– what’s the very first thing I need to do?

– what might get in the way in the future that I can take steps to prevent right now?

What, why and how? Three questions to help you achieve your goals. And just to give you a little boost to get started today, I’ll close with a quote by Karen Lamb:

"A year from now you may wish you had started today."

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