Whether you work for an employer or run your own business, chances are you've had experience with goal setting in the course of your working life.
I thought I knew pretty much all there was to know about goal setting after decades in the teaching profession; we set goals for ourselves, our departments, our schools and our students on a regular basis. Now I run my own business and I realize that, if I am to make progress, goal setting is important. Yet, strangely, it is now not always so easy.
Goal setting is far too large a project for one blog post, so I will re-visit this over the next few weeks. As an introduction, the first thing to decide, perhaps obviously, is just what your goals are. This may sound like a no-brainer but stop and think for a while; what exactly are your goals?
I recently attended an inspirational goal setting workshop at a local businesswomen's networking group
and I freely admit to shamelessly borrowing their ideas, as I found them very inspiring and think you will too. We set goals in different categories; categories that work equally well for business/work-related goals or personal goals. We decided on seven categories, the aim being to ensure a good balance.
The headings we chose were:
We were then asked to go away and write down our goal(s) in each category. This process can, as previously mentioned, be used purely for career goals, purely for personal goals, or for both.
For this week let's deal with health and wealth.
Health clearly encompasses all aspects of a healthy body and mind. Perhaps your goal is to 'lose 20 pounds' or 'go to the gym more', 'eat healthily', 'give up smoking' or 'drink less alcohol'. But remember your mental health also. Make time for yourself, decrease your personal stress levels, do whatever is necessary to preserve your mental health.
Be specific and realistic in your goal setting. 'Lose weight', 'exercise more' or 'eat healthily' are too vague. Perhaps this is why so few of us maintain our New Year's Resolutions past mid-January.
Be specific: 'Lose 10 pounds in 3 months' or 'sign up for two yoga classes a week' are both specific and, probably, more realistic and achievable. Celebrate your small successes. Reward yourself for the first 2 pounds you lose or for attending yoga classes for two weeks without missing one. Try to change one thing in your routine for the better each week. By this time next year you will have made 52 improvements to your lifestyle!
Wealth tends to be considered desirable by most people. However, wealth alone certainly does not buy happiness. It is what we do with wealth, and the choices it offers, that make us desire it. Ask yourself what it is you want that money can buy. The opportunity to travel? A good education for your children? A nice home? The ability to help a loved one who is in need? Freedom from debt? These are the goals you are aiming for, not just the accumulation of cold, hard cash. For many, money offers the luxury of choice: to live in a safer neighbourhood, to be able to go back to school if you wish, to afford a better school for your children, to have access to better healthcare, or to be able to take up an expensive sport or hobby that you have always wanted to pursue. Decide which of these are your goals and list them under 'wealth'. Then you need to think how you plan to achieve this. What strategies are you putting in place to earn or make the money you feel that you need?
If you believe that positive thoughts can lead to positive actions, then a good way to visualize and realize your goals is to make your own visualization board. Your board will contain a constant visual reminder, in words or pictures, whatever works for you, of your chosen goals. Start with health and wealth. Check back next week to think about some of our other goals and to learn more about making a visualization board to inspire you and to remind you of your goals on a daily basis!
Check back next Friday for another Prompt Proofing blog post!
About the Author
Pat Wootton is originally from England and is a former high school English teacher. Having spent many years in the Caribbean, where she raised her family, she now lives in Vancouver, BC. In addition, she has taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for several years after earning a diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of British Columbia. She now owns and runs Prompt Proofing, a copy editing and writing service that caters to individuals and partners with marketing and public relations companies.