Have you ever made a mistake and later regretted it? Let’s dig a little bit deeper. Have you ever done something the “right way” for a long time, then inexplicably veered off course and really screwed up badly? Well, that’s what I did last year, and I’m going to share with you what I did in hopes that you’ll be able to avoid making the same mistake.
Note: The next few paragraphs of this article are about my “personal experiences.” If you’d like to save time, you can skip ahead to the bulleted points below to read the meaty content.
Last year, for the first time in many years, I didn’t have any goals. Doesn’t that kind of make me sound like a hopeless couch potato or something? Well, let me tell you what happened and how I got off-track in the first place.
My story begins a little over a year ago, on December 31st, at about ten minutes to midnight. I was sitting in my office with my wife, Jenny, and my managing partner, Dave, and his wife, Judy. The four of us were discussing transferring the ownership of my company to him. Before the clock struck midnight, we had all agreed on a buy-sell agreement.
Now here’s where the story gets interesting and how I learned a valuable (but costly) lesson. The sale of my company went very smoothly, and everything continued as normal… for everyone but me.
Previously, I had always been the kind of manager/business owner who meticulously planned out my personal goals and the goals and direction my printing firm was going to take. But when I sold my company, something inside me shut off and disconnected. Although I had spent a lot of time planning the direction I was going to take with my life and company in 2013, I just simply put all my goals on the shelf and forgot about them. I remember thinking, “I’m just going to relax and take a breather. I’ll resume my plans and goals in a few weeks.”
Well, I never did, and I sort of wandered through 2013 without a plan. At the end of the year, even my wife and kids were wondering why things in our life seemed so random and “unplanned.” I knew what had happened, but it was hard to admit it.
Although my year wasn’t awful and was, in fact, an OK year, I often found myself feeling guilty because I knew I could have done better. Much better.
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever known that regardless of what others might be thinking or feeling, you could be doing “better”? If you’ve ever felt that way, then you know how I felt for most of 2013. Knowing you can do better, but not doing anything about it, can really cause you to doubt yourself, which further slows your progress and success.
This year, as 2014 approached, I was determined to get back on track and to begin the new year with a fresh hope and a renewed, positive direction in my life. Having written goals and plans for the new year would be the tool to help me restore my hope and vision for the future.
The Importance of Written Goals
Over the next three days, I’ll write three blog posts about written goal-setting.
TODAY, I’ll share why I think we all benefit by having written goals.
TOMORROW, I’ll share the goal “system” I’ve used for many years. It’s simple, easy, and fun to do.
THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, I’ll actually share my personal goals list, so each of you can see exactly how I do it. I’ll share my big goals, my teenie-weenie goals, and a few goofy-dumb goals that you might laugh at. I’ve never done this before, and it’s a little scary, but I hope that my transparency might inspire you to try a fresh approach to planning, so you can make 2014 your best year ever!
Here’s why I think written goals are a good investment of your time:
- Goals show you “how to see the future.”
- Having written goals will often provide the inspiration you need to keep us moving toward what you want.
- Goals are “reasons” to accomplish something. Many people have enough intelligence to accomplish a difficult task, but not enough reasons.
- Reasons come first. Answers come second.
- When you clearly know what you want, and you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way to get it.
- Goals are important because they help you grow and develop as a person. In other words, your goals grow you. Often, what you become is more valuable than what the goal gives you.
- Setting goals helps you work harder on yourself than you do on your job.
- Setting goals that stretch you and cause you to innovate in order to reach them will build your confidence and self-esteem.
- Having written goals will help you make more money. Lots more. If you doubt this, try it for three years, and then call me and tell me your findings. It will be a happy phone call for both of us, I promise.
Tomorrow, I’ll write about the simple system I’ve used for many years. My goals system will help you get inspired to think big and show you how to organize your ideas in a manner that will help you reach your goals.
My name is Mike Stevens, and I am a printer.