Sunday, October 27, 2013

Goals and Goal Setting (Part I)

In my mind, I won’t really be retired until my old house is sold and my mother-in-law’s estate has been closed. I still feel like I am in a transitional phase even though I have been retired since January 22, 2013. I have finished or I am closing in on the goals I made for this stage of my life. Now it is time to set some new goals to pursue in retirement. Setting goals is important. If we don’t have goals, it is unlikely we will ever achieve anything of value. One of the best known methods for setting and achieving goals is called the SMART or SMARTER Criteria.

But first you need to have some goals to test and develop using these criteria.

Here is a random list off the top of my head of different areas of your life.

Health and Physical Fitness
Personal Development
Material Possessions
Spiritual Development

Take any one of these areas, pull out a sheet of paper, and spend five minutes writing down a list of goals. At this point don’t worry if they are good, bad, or silly. Just put together a list of whatever pops into your mind. In brainstorming there is no such thing as a bad idea.

After spending some time brain storming a list of goals, look at your list and pick out what really seems important to you. Not what is important to your mother. Not what is important to your pastor. Not what is important to your wife. What looks really important to you?

Now you are ready to start developing that one particular goal.

S-First you must make the goal specific. Here are some questions that might need to be answered as you move your goal from a nebulous ill-defined dream to something more tangible.

What do you want?
Why do I want it?
Who will use it?
Where will I use it?
Which? (Requirements and Specifications)

M-Next you must make the goal measurable. In this step develop a concrete method of measuring progress towards the attainment of this goal. Here are some questions that might need to be answered.

How much?
How many?
How will I know when the goal has been accomplished?

A-Attainable If you do not believe that you can attain this goal, even if you perceive the goal as extremely desirable, you will not continue to work towards the goal when going gets tough. If you have selected a worthwhile goal, at some point the going will get tough. At this point, ask the question:

How can the goal be accomplished?

R-Relevant (to you) Spend some time looking into your own heart and spend some time looking at your assets and liabilities. (tip from a Tony Robbins story) Always list your assets before you list your liabilities. Here is a list of possible questions for this step.

Is this goal worthwhile (to me)?
Is this the right time to pursue this goal?
Does this goal fit in with the rest of my life?

T-Time Project management requires the definition of task, time, and budget. If you do not set a deadline to accomplish your goal, it is unlikely that you will ever reach the finish line. Once you have set the end date, then you can spend some time examining the time required to accomplish each subtask or step in achieving your goal. If necessary adjust your timeline to fit reality. Otherwise, you will end up violating the attainable criterion.

A couple of suggestions to consider as you are working on developing your goals: Don’t focus on what you can’t do. What you can’t do isn’t important to anyone, especially yourself. Focus instead on what you can do. Secondly, remember that for most people procrastination is the number one enemy of goals. Once we have developed a really good goal and even a plan to achieve that goal, we are inclined to put off implementation until tomorrow. Take massive action. Today!

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