At this time of the year many of us look back over the last 12 months of our lives and reflect on the things we did and the things perhaps we should have or could have done. Often times it is easier to just jump right into the new year with good intentions to make this year better than the last. I set five goals for myself last year:

  • Double my salary
  • Move into a new home
  • Learn more about my faith
  • Spend more time outside with my family
  • Write the first chapters of my book

I started off 2013 with these goals charting the course of how I spent my time. Twelve months later I can report that I only achieved 2 of the 5 goals. I came close on two others and one of the goals never even got off the ground. When I set these goals I printed them out on a small piece of paper that I stuck in my wallet. I kept that paper right in the front where I keep my debt card. I wanted to be reminded daily of the goals I had set for myself. Twelve months later that small piece of paper is worn and tattered, but I still have it.

As I reflect on why I did not achieve all 5 goals with 100% success I can begin to see patterns in my life. I started out checking my progress weekly and as the year rolled on I began to rely more on happenstance. If I just happen to have time that week I would work toward my goal. I stopped being intentional about spending time and working directly on my goals. So, I have to ask myself as the new year rolls in, are these goals still important? If so, will I reset them for 2014? What will be different next year than this year?

I am a firm believer that what is important to a person is where they will spend their energy. Like the adage “Actions speak louder than words”, what I do is the summation of what is important to me. I wrote these goals on the whiteboard in my office last January for all to see. I put myself out there and then I left that organization. Not only did I leave a position, I left my accountability partners. When I departed from the organization the whiteboard was erased and the goals lived only on that small tattered piece of paper in my wallet. So what will I do this year is the question. I am at new organization with a new whiteboard. Should the caption be “Goals 2014,” or “Recycled Goals from 2013?” Whatever the case, what I did learn from 2013 is that being accountable to others for how I am progressing with my goals is vital. Left to my own devices I could easily re-post this blog in December of 2014 with only minor changes.

  • Do you spend time reflecting on your last years goals?

  • What are some ways you use to ensure you stay focused on your goals throughout the year?

I would love to hear from you guys on ideas of how to stay focused throughout the year.

@chrismwalden

2 Comments

  1. Tim | Reply

    Great post and thank you for sharing. I am a big believer that it takes a great deal of risk to make progress on major individual (or organization) goals. You risk things falling apart on the day to day priorities or the goals / objectives where deadlines must be met. Time must be planned for the big goals at the expense of everything else and that means less time will be spent on those other priorities. We risk eroding trust, not living up to expected high standards and other issues that may result by taking the planned time on the big personal goals or other priorities. It’s been my experience that you must plan the time and set some big deadlines to force a greater sense of urgency with some of the personal goals.

    The good thing in organizations is that you can share the burden / stress with others so there is a team behind the plan to balance short / long-term. It’s ideal if you can share your personal goals with a coach, mentor, friend or someone else to help with the plan and bolster your confidence that you can manage your plan effectively.

    I still think you did far better last year than most people did with their personal goals so hopefully you are building momentum on figuring out what works for you – Congrats!!!

  2. Pingback: Actions Speak Louder Than Words | iMethods Blog

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