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Mary Schmid, Business Coach

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Plug Into Goal Setting

December 2011

"Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement." - Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog
Are the sounds of joy and blessings filling your heart this time of year or is your head cluttered with the lists of things to do and a list of things left undone? Are you worried about how 2012 will be different than 2011? Are you remembering all your good ideas and intentions for 2011 that never made it past the thinking stage?

reach-for-it90% of the population does not have written goals!  Where does this resistance to setting goals and putting a plan of action in place come from?  I think that it is simply our human way of being comfortable in what we know and being hesitant to try new things.  We procrastinate setting (and achieving) our goals by telling ourselves, “I will settle for just getting by,” “I will save my someday dreams for someday,” “I will get to it tomorrow,” or “I have tried it before and it does not work.”

As Daniel Pink describes in his book Drive, a commonly held belief is that the best way to motivate ourselves is through external rewards.  The carrot and stick method: If you do this, you get that.  We set goals based on a snapshot of the past year and remember what you DID NOT accomplish.  The result of this type of thinking is that  goals represent a deficit. There are lots of excuses as to why not; people may feel badly, even like a failure, and ultimately  give up on goal setting and directing your business and life because it does not work.  This is closed thinking where the goal accomplishment is the most important value.

Pink describes in his book that the secret to satisfaction and performance is the human need to direct our own lives (autonomy), to learn and create new things (mastery), and to better ourselves and our world (purpose.)   So what if we took his research and concepts and reversed this whole idea of how we think about goals?  What if we looked at goals through a different lens?   So instead of a snapshot of the past year being the starting point,  the starting point is a video. A video where you get to push the play button and recall in your mind all the experiences you did well last year, the things you were proud of, the memories of events that brought you great joy,  a recognition of  yourself knowing that you achieved an idea or created a change that you set out to do.  This is open thinking and the goal then becomes getting better at something, identifying the improvement you are wanting, and knowing that learning occurs every step of the way.  Working towards a goal with all the learning that accompanies it becomes the most important value.

Tips for creating your 2012 plan, the video way!
Instead of defining the goals, start with the end in mind by asking yourself these questions.

1.  What did I do well in 2011 ?  This is your building block.

2.  What do I want more of in 2012?  Dare  to dream big!

3.  What will this give me…specifically, the feeling it creates in me?

4.  What will be different as a result of knowing what I want?

5.  What will my business/professional life and personal life look like as a result of knowing I can put a plan in place?

6.  What is one really BIG stretch goal?  Something so big you can barely imagine it to be possible!

Write these thoughts down.  These thoughts are your cornerstones for your  2012 plan both personally and professionally.   When you create your own plan based on what you want  and are willing to do the work and persevere to get it, you direct our own life, you figure out creative ways to look at old problems, and by doing so, you better yourself and the world you live in.  You effectively have created an open space for what is possible. You can then fill in the “how-to” details with your own specific plans.  I personally use the SMART method…specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely/tangible.  Circumstances may dictate that the exact nature of you plans may change with time, but you have created the personal foundation on which to stand for in 2012.

Using this method myself, I have created new possibilities by for myself with staying connected to my readers, clients, friends, and associates for whom I am very appreciative of.