I recently had lunch with a respected business contact and friend. During our conversation about 2012 successes and direction for 2013, we got on the topic of goals.
If you follow business bloggers, authors and speakers, you are familiar with the concept of goals, and how vital they are to getting better personally and professionally. Successful people get that. But my friend said something that struck me. “I don’t have goals. Taking action is more important.”
Goals are a stepping stone to taking action, and it got me thinking about why so many people fall short of their goals. If you fail to put a plan in place to reaching them, goals become meaningless, and getting better seems unattainable and overwhelming.
The hard work in setting goals is continually striving to reach those goals even when your motivation and energy are not there. Here are some steps toward effective goal setting and achievement.
Find your true vision. Whether you are a CEO with big plans to take the credit union in a new direction, an executive wanting to take the next step on the ladder or an individual who wants to take a new path in life, finding out that true vision and then mapping out the steps to accomplishing that vision is just as, if not more, important than the goals themselves. Your vision comes from the things you truly value in life. Whether it is family, having a flexible schedule, financial independence or security, we all structure our lives around the things that we value most. These values will determine your vision.
Once you find that vision, clearly define your goals on paper. Make sure they are specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time bound. If you want to be a better leader, you cannot just set a goal to do so and then not take regular action to learn what that means, such as by reading leadership books, hiring a coach or finding a mentor to hold you accountable. You can’t say, “I want to lose 50 pounds” without mapping out a plan to eat healthier and become more active.
Set goals around things that you actually plan on doing. Perhaps your goal is to become better at public speaking. If you know in your heart that you will never actually go through with it, setting this goal will only decrease your self trust.
Make sure your goals are in line with your true vision. You must have the right goals in order to get where you are going. Check to make sure the goals you set are actually in line with the vision you have for your life and your career.
Dream big. Realize that nothing is out of your each if you set your mind to it and write a plan to getting it done.
Identify who will hold you accountable. Whether it is a spouse, close friend, mentor or business coach, accomplishing goals requires accountability. Let this person in on the plans you have, and task that person with holding you accountable along the way.
As we ring in 2013, I wish you all the best in setting goals as you take the most important step–action–to reaching them and becoming the best you can be. Start today.
Amanda Thomas is vice president of marketing at Pathways Financial Credit Union.
Contact 614-462-6850 ext. 1101 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cooperative Trust is a grassroots organization composed of several hundred young credit union professionals. Its activities include meetings, mentorships online collaboration and development projects. Opinions expressed are the personal views of the author.