A simple, easy-to-use system for setting goals

January 8, 2014 · 1 comment

There are probably a dozen different goal-setting systems you could use to help you create your own personal goal list for the new year. This is how I do mine.

What I like about the way I do it is that it’s simple to understand, fun to do, and easy to remember how it works. I do think there are “better” goal-setting systems, but most of the ones I’ve studied are fairly complicated and a little too detail-oriented for me.

I like simple, fun, and easy… so the following system works for me — and I think you’ll find it very helpful, too. It’s a really good system if you don’t have a lot of time to spend figuring out how to organize your goals. In fact, it’s so easy that I am purposely not going to give you the forms that I use, because you’ll be able to quickly and effortlessly create your own on your computer. You’ll be able to visualize exactly what to do by the simple descriptions I’ll provide.

Let’s begin…

First: Start with a blank sheet of paper. Write “My Top 50 Goals for 2014″ across the top, then begin listing the 50 goals that you would like to accomplish in 2014. There’s no need to worry about putting the most important ones in any particular order at this point. Simply begin to list all of your goals as you envision them.

If you’re having trouble coming up with 50 personal goals, try breaking them down into categories. Some categories I use to help me generate ideas for my top 50 include financial, personal development, family, travel, fitness, health, home improvements and maintenance, business, spiritual, purchases, and relationships.

These are just a few of the categories you could use, so please don’t feel limited by those I’ve listed here. I would encourage you to personalize your own list of categories as much as you wish. And remember, the list of categories is just to help you come up with your top 50 goals. You don’t need to worry about grouping the goals by category, unless you want to.

What happens if you exceed 50 goals? If you do, you can simply add the extra ones to your personalized goals list. So instead of reading “My Top 50 Goals,” your list might read “My Top 65 Goals” (or whatever you want it to say).

Second: Now, take four more sheets of paper and put theses titles on the top of each page:

  • My One-Year Goals
  • My Three-Year Goals
  • My Five-Year Goals
  • My Ten-Year Goals

When you’ve done this, go back and think about your top 50 goals. Think about each and every goal individually. How long do you think it will realistically take you to accomplish this goal? After you’ve done that, you can begin to transfer each of your top 50 goals onto the one, three, five, and ten-year goal sheets.

Most of your goals will probably be attainable in one year, but it’s always good to have a few big goals to aim for. I only have two goals on my three-year list, one goal on my five-year list, and one on my ten-year list. When you’re finished putting deadlines on all 50 of your personal goals, it’s time to complete the final paperwork part of your goal-setting system.

The last form you need to create is titled “Goals Accomplished in 2014.” On the final sheet of paper, simply add the title. Then, underneath the title, add all 12 months from January through December in a horizontal column running down the left-hand side of the page. Under each individual month, add the numbers 1-5. When you’re finished reaching one of your goals, write it down here and celebrate. In other words, if you finish three goals during the month of January, list each of them under January on this page.

This is a very important part of the process, and you owe it to yourself to write down all of your successes here. I cannot tell you how many times I refer to this page throughout the year, but it’s a lot! Seeing the results of your efforts written on paper will inspire you to keep pushing forward toward the rest of your goals.

Before you begin this step, here are a few more suggestions for your consideration.

  • I used to add 100 new goals to my list each year. In my case, that was too many. If you have 50 goals and reach the majority of them by the end of the year, you’ll be amazed how much of a positive impact that will have on your life.
  • It’s OK to include some of your bigger business goals on this personal list. However, I always kept a separate set of goals for my printing firm that I shared with all of my management team and co-workers.
  • I think it’s wise to share your goals with your family and to ask for their input. Don’t be surprised if they challenge you to think bigger… or to avoid overreaching in some cases. Listen to their feedback.
  • I keep my goals on my desktop within easy reach. I put my goal sheets in a simple, bright yellow, unmarked double-pocket folder that cost 89 cents.
  • As I begin each year, I always choose one or two of the easiest goals to start on first. Doing this helps me feel progress quickly, and it motivates me to not stall out early in the process.
  • When you’re finished with this goal-setting project, take a moment to simply think about how different your life would be if your reached all of your goals. Just think of the impact you would make on yourself and on the lives of your loved ones.

Tomorrow, I will be posting my actual personal goals list for 2014. I’ve never done that before, but I think it might help you see how I do it.

I would encourage you from the bottom of my heart to begin to write down your own goals each year. It’s not too late to begin…

Best wishes on your future success!

My name is Mike Stevens, and I am a printer.

  • Lawrence

    Watch a master goal setting video that you won’t regret on You Tube.

    Zig Ziglar – True Performance – Goals

    ‘Most people spend more time each year planning their vacation than their life’-Zig.

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