What you Focus on is What You Get! In this world of distractions, it’s too easy to lose our focus. When this happens we may be getting things done, but we’re really not accomplishing anything. In these times of longer and longer TO DO lists and the endless fascinations of voicemail, email, and texting we can lose our way. The dreams that matter and the determination to live a life that shows the person we want to be are lost in the shuffle of a busy, busy life.
Then our most powerful tool – our focus – is lost to us. Its power drives us through our busy days, but the potential to accomplish the big stuff is gone.
So that’s why the last (and vital) step toward personal transformation and moving your focus to what matters is to set goals for each of your roles. Begin by taking a moment to list the roles you’re currently playing in your life, such as parent, friend, manager – and ones that you want to play in the coming year, like author or business owner.
Remember to add a role about taking care of yourself so you can take care of others, such as My Coach or My Guide. Now you’re ready to set your goals for the coming year.
In this blog I’m sharing about the 5th and last Principle of Personal Transformation: Set your Top Ten Goals – and track them for a year. To review here are the 5 Steps with links to other Best Year Yet blogs that elaborate and inspire. If you haven’t read them before this, you may appreciate the introductory blog to these principles: 5 Steps of Personal Transformation.
- Appreciate your Success
- Learn your Lessons
- Shift your Limiting Beliefs - Anything is Possible!
- Live your Values – related article Life Beyond Being Good Enough
- Set your Top 10 Goals and Track Them – for a year!
To discover your goals for each role, ask yourself, ‘If this is going to be my best year yet as a manager/father/friend, what results do I want to achieve in the coming year?’
Once you’ve set goals for the first role, move on to the rest of your roles and repeat this step. Remember to set SMART goals – take time to review what that means, even though you may know all about SMART goals. It’s worth reminding yourself how to set powerful goals at this moment.
S is for Specific. Your goals should have clear deliverables or end points. Know exactly what you want and you’ll have an easier time getting it.
Get more fit is a worthy goal, but it’s not specific. Lose 10 pounds and exercise three times a week is a specific goal. See how much more powerful that is – and how much easier it is to know what to do to achieve it?
M is for Measurable: The yardstick you’ll use to gauge success should be explicit. Exactly how will you know when you’ve achieved the goal? Usually there is a statement of How many? How much? Who? What?
Increase the profitability of our business is a challenging and probably necessary goal. Good one. But how much more powerful and professional to set expressed in this way.
Increase the profitability of our business by at least 15%. The second goal is measurable and, therefore, achievable because it’s focused on the exact results you want and need.
A is for Attainable: The goal can be a stretch goal but should have at least an 80% probability of success.
R is for Relevant: The goal should be important to you and in line with your values. And it’s relevant for this stage of your life. A great life can be built by having a best year yet, year after year.
T is for time bounded. Since you’re making a 12-month plan, you have a natural deadline. You already know you want to achieve each goal in the next year. However, you may want to set a timeframe that’s shorter than 12 months for a couple of your goals. For example, Lose 10 pounds by the time I go on my vacation.
The more powerfully you write your goals, the more responsible you can be about achieving them. Every time you look at powerful goals, you see a clear picture of where you’re going. I believe that of all the SMART reminders, the first two are the most important – make your goals specific and measurable.
And, finally, tell yourself what to do. Start each goal with a verb – an ACTION word. WRITE my book. Write is the verb. LEARN to ski. TAKE a great vacation with my family. EARN at least $50,000.
We often can see sanity return for clients when we ask them such questions as: “I understand from what you’re saying that you know what you don’t want. Now can you tell me what you do want?” Having specific, measurable goals is a big help in keeping our focus in a positive, productive place rather than getting pulled back into that negative place, filled with fear, worry and doubt. Remember –
What You Focus on is What You Get!
When you set goals and write them down, you’ve expressed your willingness to be responsible for living with integrity --- doing what you know to do, to be true to yourself and your values. Goals pull your talent from you and force you to come up with the goods --- not only achieving your goal but discovering and using more of your potential on the path to the achievement of your goals.
Once you’ve set goals for your roles, mark the ones that are your top 10 priorities for the coming year – the ones that, when achieved, would really make it your personal best year yet. Make a new list that includes just these Top Ten Goals.
Years ago Tim and I ran a marathon. When we first talked about it, both of us thought that it was impossible. Why even try? But we trained and we worked and eventually we did it. What made the difference? Our commitment to run a marathon. Having made the commitment, we kept going a step at a time until we reached the finish line. And, in the process, we discovered strength and determination we wouldn’t have found without this goal.
Starting the next year of your life with a clear view of WHAT you want to achieve pulls both your daily actions and your attitude toward your goals. Your talents, your intelligence and your awareness are pointed at a specific target and your natural energy brings results in a way a scattered – take it as it comes -- approach never does. You know where you’re going and you’re on your way.
Goals guide you to be responsible and proactive in your life. And the more specific and measurable your goals, the more willing you are to be responsible for making them happen. You’ll still get your urgent TO DO list done – don’t worry. That always happens, one way or another. One day or the next.
What’s in danger of NOT HAPPENING is the life you long for and the results you’ve always wanted!
Above all, the secret of successful goal setting and planning is to achieve the right balance between goals, which are realistic, and goals, which are exciting because they show you’re making your dreams come true!
Once you’ve selected your Top Ten Goals, create a special document or image that you can put in places that capture your attention and your focus. Make your goals your screen saver, wallpaper on your cell phone, list on your bulletin board or refrigerator. Manage your focus and your success. Here’s a sample list of Top Ten Goals:
Top Ten Goals
- Make an outline of my novel, and write at least one chapter.
- Earn at least 10% more than I did last year.
- Find friends to share in outdoor activities each weekend.
- Exercise 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes.
- Keep in touch with my closest friends from my last job.
- Have one date a week with my spouse.
- Weigh 150 pounds and maintain it.
- Have one special day with each child every month.
- Build a strong management team that delivers our plan.
- Implement a savings plan to begin to prepare for retirement.
Finally – take 10 minutes to write a list of your Monthly Goals – steps and results that will move you toward your goals. At the end of the month review your goals by giving each goal a percentage out of 100 – and then average all the scores to see how you did for the month. It’s a game! Take a minute to see what you can learn from your first month. Then make your plan for the second month.
May this year be all that you hope for yourself – and your personal best yet!
About the Author
Jinny Ditzler is the creator of the Best Year Yet® system, author of best-selling book Your Best Year Yet!, one of the founders of the modern coaching movement, and a regular Huffington Post contributor. While she gets a lot of the credit for being the founder of Best Year Yet®, she’s the first to say it could never have happened without the rest of the global team, all of whom contributed valuable knowledge, skill and talent to bring the program to its current status.
Jinny started coaching business leaders and executives 35 years ago, and in the early 1990’s her work evolved to include top business teams and organization-wide programs, designed to transform the way people work together to achieve better results and happier companies.
Jinny is currently writing a new book and coaching people whose intention is to make a positive impact. Having lived and worked in the UK for 18 years, she and her husband Tim now live in Denver, Colorado. They have two sons, two daughters (in-law), and four granddaughters.