Setting Goals for 2013 – What Will Yours Be?

By Patti Baron Schreiber

As the end of the year quickly approaches, taking time to reflect on your business and what you've accomplished seems like a no-brainer. However, if you didn't set any goals at the beginning of the year, it can be difficult to know where you came from, not to mention where you meant to go. Yogi Berra said it best: "If you don't know where you are going, you might end up somewhere else.

Since my twenties, I set goals for myself every year. It kept me on track professionally, personally and financially. Then, during a particularly difficult rough patch, I gave up setting goals for several years. At the heart of it, I think it was because I felt I had no control over anything, and so goal setting seemed like a useless exercise. In retrospect, it was probably the time TO set goals, no matter how small, in order to have something to focus on.

In the bestselling book, “Gung Ho” by Ken Blanchard, one of the first principles he talks about is having a clear vision and setting goals. If you have people who work for you, communicating those goals visually to them is key in getting everyone working toward the same end with commitment. He recommends posting goals where everyone can see them on a daily basis. This creates an internal vision for every team member – a reminder that they have purpose and are working towards something.

I’ve worked in organizations where there were very specific goals, very sporadic goals, “shotgun” reactionary goals, ever-changing goals and no goals. The most fulfilling, motivating place to work was unequivocally the place with the most specific goals. And, no coincidence, it was the most successful business I’ve worked in as well.

You don’t have to be a business owner or a professional to set goals. I remember attending a volunteer committee meeting in the home of a stay-at-home mother of five a few years ago. I went to use the bathroom and there, at eye level on the back of the door, was the family’s value statement, vision and goals written for everyone to see on a regular basis.

This past year, I resurrected my goal setting practice. I did a mid-year review and again, reviewed them yesterday. I was pleased to see that most had been accomplished, and I am currently contemplating the ones which were not. The three which had little or no progress were either no longer in alignment with who I am or were too big, and I had not taken the time to break them into attainable, small steps.

Whether you are a business owner, employee or someone just looking to move forward with your life, consider setting goals for yourself for 2013. Write them down. Look at them frequently. Vision in your mind what it looks like to accomplish each one. And watch for my next blog on Creating a Vision.

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