Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Leave No Room for Regrets

Reaching your goals
For the past two weeks my sales coach, Joe Marr, has been working with my class on setting our goals -- and I mean more than what we were going to do next week. What we were talking about were goals set for five and ten years out. These are life goals.

Both Joe and one of my other coaches, Professor Keith Hafner, have spoken about the mistakes that people make in their goal-setting:

  1. This covers a good portion of the people out there, but the biggest mistake people make is that they don't bother to set goals in the first place. They have worked for thirty years in the same job, but they don't have thirty years of experience, they have one year of experience, thirty times.
  2. The next biggest mistake is having goals, but not writing them down. Many of us fall into this category. You've probably spoken with one or two. "Someday I'm going to have a cabin up north." "My wife and I want to travel around the world someday." There's a word for these kinds of unwritten goals. They're called dreams. Remember, if it isn't written down, it never happened.
  3. Even if folks write them down, they can still end up in the realms of dream. Unless you define the goals specifically, you'll never know when you get there. Bad goal "I'm going to be healthy". Better goal "By December 31, 2008 my weight will be below 200 lbs and I will be able to do 50 push-ups in a row."
  4. Of course, writing them down isn't enough. If you don't review those goals on a daily basis and take specific steps toward achieving them, then the only benefit you gain from writing everything down is that next year you can just change the dates and claim that you did your goal-setting. Remember the old SMART acronym? Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-based.
I've still got a long way to go myself on these skills. I'm not bad at the shorter term stuff (less than a year away), but five and ten year plans take a lot more out of me. Still, I figure it will be worth it -- being able to craft and live the life that I want. Joe underscored that with some statistics he had found. According to this study, 4000 retired business executives, average age 70, were asked how they would live their life differently if they could live it over again. The #1 answer?
I would have carved out life goals and owned my life. Life was not practice, it was the real thing. I should have taken charge of my life with goalsetting.
So, are your goals posted where you can read them every day?

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