It’s a blissfully snowy day and I’m in my cozy winter clothes, taking a little break while my kids nap. Such sublime stillness surrounds us this time of year. It’s a perfect time to reflect on the previous year and organize the one ahead (all before the kids wake up, of course!).
According to a study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who didn’t. To many of us, this isn’t a great surprise. There’s something about the process of writing down our goals that increases our level of commitment and accountability.
Yet most of us skip this crucial step. As a typical entrepreneur, I know I did when I first started out. Many entrepreneurs struggle with strategizing during the early days in business. We’re so busy putting out day-to-day fires, it feels impossible to stop and take a look at the “big picture.”
After years in business, I find that when I address my personal goals first, I’m much more spiritually grounded and able to manage my work world with more clarity and passion.
For both types of goal setting, I like tools to aid me. I find structure keeps me gently accountable and inspired at the same time.
One of my favorite tools?
Lara Casey’s Power Sheets that I dutifully keep by the side of my bed. They’re beautifully designed personal goal-setting sheets that are a real treat to write in.
This colorful journal book contains a wide range of creative prompts, like inspiring calls to action, discovering your own personal fears, lessons learned from the previous year, what’s working for me now (I wrote “trusting in God’s greater plan for me”).
Here’s an example of a personal goal I jotted down in my Power Sheets:
“I want to cultivate a loving household where I’m dedicated to my family in a way that give them security and a foundation for growth.”
Note that my goal contains the specificity I need to keep me focused but seems doable (since overly challenging goals can quickly lead to a sense of defeat. Think “I’d like to lose 50 pounds in one month”).
Here are some additional personal goals I’d like to address in 2016. (Feel free to use my goals as a jumping off point for yours.)
- Scheduling more time with my kids.
- Trusting God has a greater plan for me.
- Going with my gut more often (couldn’t we all, right?)
- Prayer: dedicating more time to it.
- Writing weekly gratitude notes (we’ll discuss this more in the future—very transformative process).
- Slowing down and taking on one task at a time (a real challenge for entrepreneurs).
- Praying with my kids more regularly.
Number five from the “what fires me up” section was a big motivation behind this blog!
While I’m partial to the Power Sheets, the most important takeaway is the process itself. Express your goals in a targeted, concrete manner that encourages and engages you creatively.
Maybe for you, a voice recorder or a trusty diary works best. Or creating a vision board. Or discussing goals with supportive friends or colleagues. Or painting a picture of your future life. Just don’t leave those goals to wander the depths of your mind. Give them a home!
For entrepreneurs, goal setting is a must. You simply can’t afford to “wing it” Many businesses succeed solely based on ability to execute detailed planning. Without it, you’re a ship out at sea with no real destination and no compass to direct you.
So dare to concretize your personal and professional goals and dreams for 2016. Write them into reality. Hold yourself accountable in a way that’s enjoyable. Bottom line: goal setting shouldn’t feel like drudgery. Think “active dreaming” instead.
What is your favorite goal setting tool or method? Share yours below so we can learn from one another!