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A Goal-Setting Routine: Creating Opportunities

This post was originally published by Ryan Alford on the Interprose Voice blog.

Are you a goal setter? And do you create goals in preparation for the New Year?

I read an article that called goal-setting “a practice for losers”. I almost fell out of my chair. Reading on, the author made a case for creating positive systems and habits, in place of goal-setting. Okay, I get it. That makes sense. But I ignored this hip, new way of working and went old school: I now write my goals down and put them in a place where I could be reminded of their importance each day.

Reflecting on my 2015 accomplishments, I asked myself, “Did you meet your goals for the year?” The answer was yes…no. But by learning from my mistakes, I’m able to better arrange my 2016 lineup. And maybe by reading this blog, it will help you arrange something for yourself and your company (if you haven’t already).

Establishing a Goal-Setting Routine

For me, setting goals for 2015 was essential to understanding the year ahead and capturing where my personal life intersected with my professional life. Planning for 2016 was no exception – it also allowed me to take a certain level of inventory on what’s merely a “to do” item (part of a checklist, of sorts) and what could potentially be more meaningful to my life.

When first starting, my goal-setting exercise was more of an experiment. However, was I missing out on years of accomplishments because I wasn’t setting goals? I certainly didn’t feel that way. I’m quite content with my life, but I didn’t want to succumb to complacency. And the more I thought about it the more I realized the glass ceiling of achievement is a real thing – similar to a plateau in a weight loss program.

The most important question to ask myself, as it relates to goal setting, was “How can I break through this barrier that I’ve imposed on myself?”

While I’m sure I’m not alone in this quest – assuming many people stumble upon this point in their lives and have to overcome or surrender – I felt it necessary to be proactive to invoke change.

When setting my goals, two inspirational quotes always come to mind and help put things into perspective:

“Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.” – Richard Bach

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” – Bruce Lee

First and foremost, I make sure to write my goals down on paper. No electronic tablets. No technology. I want it to be tangible. This makes it real. And I can also look at my list each day – posting them near my computer – allowing me the opportunity to meditate on future accomplishments.

Reflecting on Goals Past

One of the goals that I reluctantly added to my 2015 list was one I had attempted to accomplish for at least the last three to four years. Each time I tried, I failed miserably. But I never wrote it down, never took it seriously. And by not employing this method of goal-setting, I was unknowingly preventing it from becoming a reality. Now that it was part of my lineup, I had to embrace it and take the necessary steps to get it done…even if it stressed me out in the process.

Call it divine intervention, call it happenstance, call it whatever you want, I found myself in the process of accomplishing this goal. After receiving a call from the right person at the right time, the task was set into motion. And then all the pieces had to align in the correct order for it to be completed.

Lo and behold, two months into 2015 I was crossing this goal off my list. It was done. Mission accomplished.

A New Year, A New Set of Goals

I fully believe if you write it down and speak the goal out loud to a friend, family member, or a co-worker, it will put the process into motion. Maybe not as quickly as I experienced, but it WILL create urgency and motivation. And with those two elements combined, great things can happen.

What are your PR and marketing goals for 2016? How are you establishing them up front? Are you writing them down? Charting and reviewing them? How are you working toward achieving them and where are you posting them?

My colleague Laurie Davis recently wrote a great piece that includes some goal-setting tips of her own; you should definitely check it out.

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