4 steps for successful goal setting

2015 05 12 15 59 09 147 Geier Jay 200

So here we are in the second full week of a new year. By now, you have likely declared resolutions or set goals for what you want to establish in your practice and your personal life for the next 12 months. Or, perhaps, you have ignored all talk of change and resolve because, frankly, you don't think another year of goal making is going to make a difference anyway. After all, despite your intentions, you have yet to have a year in which your goals were met.

Jay Geier is the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute.Jay Geier is the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute.

OK, so let me ask you this: Do you know where are you going this year? As trite as it sounds, if you don't know where you're headed, how can you get there? Goals give you a defined destination. And if we can keep our eyes on the goals, then we will more likely choose paths that will get us there.

I am a goal setter. I set them for my personal life with my relationships, health, faith, and finances, as well as for my professional life with the Scheduling Institute. I insist that my staff also set personal and professional goals each quarter. And of course, we track our progress regularly.

But sometimes it is challenging to determine our goals and to commit to them, especially if we haven't had much success in keeping them in the past. Following these few steps will help ensure you are setting the right type of goals to get you on the path to success in 2016.

1. Make a list of clearly defined goals
Vague, misty thoughts in your head are just ideas, not goals. Include some stretch goals. Decide to go for the "what" and have faith that you'll be able to figure out the "how" along the way.

2. Prioritize your list by quarter
Decide which ones will have the biggest impact if accomplished earlier in the year. And which ones can wait and/or will take longer to accomplish.

3. Pick your top 4
Choose the four "big" goals that, if accomplished, would constitute complete success for the quarter. Commit to stay focused on these so everyone else's priorities don't get in the way of your goals.

4. The D-1 decision
That is, what is the first domino that forces others to fall along the proper path? For example, if your goal is to build a new office building, the first domino is the land purchase. Until you do that, it's premature to spend time and energy on anything else related to that new building.

“I typically achieve only about 70% of the goals I write down for myself each year. That's because I always set stretch goals.”

Now, what if you execute all the steps perfectly and yet don't achieve one or more of your goals in the desired time frame? If you make only 70% progress instead of 100%, will you feel like a failure?

Give yourself a break! Learn to measure and appreciate progress, not just perfection. After all, you'll be 70% ahead of where you were at the beginning of the quarter. Once the dominos start to fall, momentum will get you there the next quarter, the next year, or maybe not until the one after that. And that's OK.

I'm a classic example. As disciplined as I am, I typically achieve only about 70% of the goals I write down for myself each year. That's because I always set stretch goals for myself -- goals that make me stretch out of the comfort zone of what I know. I want to be sure I'm pushing myself as far as I can go. If I achieved 100% of my goals, that would only tell me I didn't set my goals high enough.

It's not too late to establish and commit to your 2016 goals. And by using these tips and setting the right type of goals, you have a better chance of staying the course.

Jay Geier is the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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