Drowning in Goal Setting? Go Simple

Boat at dusk

When I entered the gym on the early Sunday afternoon of Jan. 2, it didn’t surprise me to see a mob at a time when the gym is usually empty. You know what will happen, don’t you?

  • January 1: Resolutions begin.
  • February 1: Resolutions waver.
  • March 1: What resolutions?
  • December 1: Time to make the same resolutions, starting January 1 instead of today.

The same things happen with work goals, whether it’s keeping your inbox empty or getting five new clients. The experts’ suggestions for goal setting and planning overwhelm and paralyze many folks, including me. Rather than commit myself to particular goals at the beginning of the year, I watch my business and professional lives, do a little temperature-taking throughout the year, then make decisions based on what’s actually happening.

Here are my three simple steps:

  1. Figure out your passion.
  2. Create rules to support these passions.
  3. Make decisions based on the first two steps.

I love that the flexibility of working from home lets me be there when the kids need me. I also love having diverse clients and projects, sharing what I know, solving problems, and doing work that my clients appreciate.

My three rules (not goals) to support those things are:

  • Keep current clients happy.
  • Continue marketing, even in busy times.
  • Take care of my body, mind and spirit.

That’s it. Yes, I want to add more clients, but that’s the strength of this approach. All three of my rules support that.

When I consider taking on something new, I compare it against my three rules. For example, I’ve thought about going to grad school, but if I do that, I’ll have less time to devote to my current clients, less time for marketing, and less family time. I won’t make as much money, accomplish as much, or have a degree on my resume anytime soon. I’m willing to give that up because it means that I’m supporting the life I truly want.

The key is that you need a snapshot of today to decide what to do tomorrow, then you can adapt and change as needed. The minute a crack appears in this goal-setting process, then hit the brakes hard and figure out what to do.

How do you set goals and stay on target to reach them?

Photo by sxc.hu user smJet

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