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Get Your Wheels On: Your 2015 Plan To Stay On Track

As most of you know, New Year’s resolutions dissipate about 30-45 days into the year. As such, I decided to take a different approach to my “resolutions” in an effort to make them less intimidating and more productive. As I began creating a list of goals for both my personal life and my business, I actually found the process to be refreshing and inspiring, so I thought I would share with other readers. Here’s how I prepared them:

  1. Start With The Name

Mine are called “goals” this year – not “resolutions.” It’s a simple but significant detail. Goals are something we deal with in business all the time – something we strive for, something that makes us better, and something to accomplish. Not all goals are accomplished, but we can usually find a way to learn from that, adjust as necessary, and move on. The word “resolution” carries with it so much weight and priority that we can get lost in what we’re trying to accomplish when we mess up – we feel guilty and then give-up. “Goals” seems so much more manageable – call me crazy. Choose a title that speaks to you and will make you feel inspired and motivated when you refer back to your list.

  1. Keep Them Handy

Part of making these goals “stick” is to keep them handy – the ability to refer back to them and track your progress. I wrote out all my personal and work goals and I’m keeping them in my favorite mini-binder that’s my roadmap for daily life. That way I know I will see these goals on a regular basis to review what I have signed up for. Visually seeing something you are committed to helps reinforce the path you’ve set – and also gives you a chance to actually cross stuff off the list that you may have completed – yay! Look for a high-visibility place to keep them – like your desk, bulletin board, refrigerator, or smart phone. Staying engaged and motivated = big win.

  1. Schedule Your Check-Ins

I also added check-in dates to my calendar at the end of every quarter. I labeled them “Quarterly Goals Review” as a reminder to myself to take a peek and see how I’m doing. This is something I usually do for my business, but hadn’t thought about for personal goals. This will also be the time to update or modify goals as needed. It’s not a failure if the goal wasn’t accomplished – it’s a reminder that you’re on the right path and sometimes the path winds in different directions. You need to be open to such changes and adjust accordingly. If I was reviewing “resolutions” I think it’s more black and white, and likely listed as a success or failure. That motivates no one – and the momentum disappears along with it.

  1. Categorize

I divided my personal goals into four categories that I found most relevant: Head, Heart, Health and Home. Each has 4-6 manageable goals and actionable tasks tied to it. I was very aware of not making the list too long and cumbersome – again the ability to manage and stay motivated is critical. This also helps you really focus and prioritize what you want to get done, which is important.

Goals for my HEAD revolve around fueling my passions and feeding my intellectual curiosity – like being more disciplined about reading books. I made a plan with the books I’ve been meaning to get to, which also forced me be thoughtful about selecting books that will give me the most value and insight. It feels good to have a roadmap in front of me knowing that I will get to those books sometime this year and the schedule will keep me clipping along.

Under my HEART section, I listed goals and actions that will make me a better human being, more compassionate and nurture my soul. One of my tasks is to work on being more patient – to be more accepting, forgiving and encouraging – especially of myself. My quarterly check-ins will be a good way to be honest about my progress.

My goals in the HEALTH section need little explanation, but they are really important to all the other goals on my list – without a healthy body, the rest matter less. One of my goals is to go to bed earlier, which involves wrapping up work and home chores, allowing one hour of reading time before bed. It’s specific, actionable, and measurable. It also ties to one of my other goals, and has already been tremendously helpful – proof that good work and accomplishments are the biggest motivator!

My final section is HOME which involves organizing papers and projects around the house. The goals I created are often in my head as “things to get around to,” but the new handwritten list is a regular reminder that I want to get these tasks completed and it provides a quick hit list of things to do with some extra time on a Saturday afternoon.

I haven’t completed my business goal setting for the year, but I will be deploying the same process because it works for me and the manner in which I get things done. Please share ideas or feedback if you have something that works for you!

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