As I prepare for the annual Christmas break, I find myself flipping between 'finishing off' this years tasks, and excitedly planning for 2012 - SOOO many ideas, I hardly know where to start!
So, in that strange period between Christmas and New year that no-one really knows what to do with, I've decided to set aside time for reflection and actual goal setting. All the business gurus tell us to have clear goals, and indeed you probably set one when you started your current job or business. But what happens when your business is up and running or you are established in your role? Are you too busy dealing with day-to-day decisions and and actually DOING the work? When was the last time you reviewed your goals? Are you still on course? Do they still meet the needs of your customers/organisation? Are they still relevant? Do you need new ones?
Almost everyone is familiar with SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound), and they can be very useful indeed. But what is your goals are not so easily defined? What if they are more personal? Well, you can still set goals...in a fashion. Defining a well-formed outcome can really help you to focus on what you want, why you want it, what will happen if you do/don't get it, and how you will know you have achieved it. They go beyond cold, hard stats and instead tap into the more emotional side of goal setting. Because of this, they tend to be something that you commit to more easily. Both types of goals are defined in detail here.
As Steven Covey states in his book 'The 7 habits of highly effectively people' - we all need to take time out occasionally to 'sharpen our saw'. So as we begin 2012, take an hour out to focus on what it is that you want to achieve. Review any old goals that you set yourself, and/or set yourself some new ones. Use the SMART criteria where you can, but why not also try defining a well-formed outcome. It may be the most worthwhile hour you have all year!