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Design Your Best Year Ever

(posted: January 14th, 2010)

No matter how last year was for you; this year can be even better. You can design this year to be your best year ever; it is all up to setting goals.

The function of a goal is, first of all, to get you into action. If you have a specific target that must be accomplished by a particular date, you will perform tasks that would otherwise stay on a to-do list. A goal also keeps you on track. At any moment, you can ask yourself "Will this action or decision move me closer to my goals?" Finally, having a goal gives you a way to measure your effectiveness. If you are moving toward your goal, your actions are effective; if you are not moving toward it, they are ineffective or not effective enough.

Something almost magical happens when you focus your creative power on well defined targets.

Mark McCormick in his book What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School, tells of a Harvard study conducted between 1979 and 1989.

In 1979, graduates of the MBA program were asked to set clear written goals for their future and their plans to accomplish them. It turned out only 3 percent of the graduates had written goals, 13 percent had goals but they were not in writing and 84 percent had no specific goals at all-aside from getting out of school and enjoying the summer.

Ten years later, in 1989, the researchers again interviewed the members of that same graduating class. They found that the 13 percent who had goals that were not in writing were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent of students who had no goals at all. Most surprisingly, they found that the 3 percent of graduates who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, 10 times more than 97 percent of their graduating class. The only difference between the groups was the clarity of goals they had set (and spelled out) for themselves when they graduated.

Now if you knew that stretching several hours out over eight weeks to devote to strategic goal-setting could multiply the results in your life by 10; surpassing the accomplishments of your peers, competitors, family members and neighbors; and produce 10 times more than what you are likely to achieve without defining your goals on paper; would you do it? Would it be worth it? Easy answer, but we'll see.

"Most people don't aim too high and miss. They aim too low and hit."

Bob Moawad

For your vision and goals to have long-term positive impact, they must include several areas of your life. You must have career, financial, spiritual, physical, intellectual, family and social goals. If you leave one of these areas out, you will have what's known as a flat tire. Your life will be out of balance and the ride won't be as smooth.

"Life without balance can cost you your relationships. Life without balance can cost you your health. Life without balance can cost you your wealth and happiness. Life without balance can cost you your spirituality. So find the things to motivate you from all areas of your life. Your success depends on it."

Jim Rohn

In order for your goals to work they must be: SMARTer

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable; but still think big!!
  • Relevant
  • Timely
  • Extending; do they take you outside your comfort zone
  • Rewarding, do you feel good about yourself when you accomplish them

Other best practices:

  • Don't just think it, ink it. When you write things down they are dangerous.
  • Be sure they are your goals; if not you will won't have the spirit or passion to achieve them
  • State in the positive
  • State them in the "I am"
  • Make sure they align with your core values

I believe you will find the act of reflecting, thinking, dreaming and planning to be one of the most important exercises you can do that will positively impact the next 12 months. Goals. There's no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There's no telling what you can do when you believe in them.

And theres no telling what will happen when you act upon them.

We all need lots of powerful long-range goals to help us past the short-term obstacles. The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.

Being Your Best

May you become all that you were intended to be. Take advantage of this great moment to start making the coming year your best yet. Use your January motivation to make real positive change in your personal and professional life. Make this the year you really turn it on; the year you plant your flag in the ground so the world takes notice.

Let your achievements be an inspiration to others of what's possible when you focus your creative attention on a worthy ideal.

I wish you a happy, safe, blessed and prosperous year to come.

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