Are you ready?
It’s that time of year for young and old to review, reflect and reset goals.
Whether you do this consciously and deliberately or through fits and starts, many of us use the end of the calendar year to think about what will be in setting goals.
Now, if you need help with the mechanics of goal-setting stop reading now as this blog won’t help you. There are innumerable articles about how to set goals and seriously, if one more trainer uses the SMART goal setting process in a class I attend I’m going to throw up. Enough already.
If not mechanics, then what?
How about some metaphysics.
You see, the act of setting goals can become ritualistic, eg., all professionals set goals, everyone develops plans and all good peeps set resolutions at year-end. Not really true, because since it is, in fact, ritualistic it therefore isn’t real.
If we really examine goal setting we can see at its core its a reflection of dissatisfaction. Not in the sense of dis-ease if you will, but more like unfulfilled promise. We could be more, better, smarter, nicer, et al.
Goal setting not born out of habit then comes fundamentally from wanting to improve our lives. To improve our existence. So if this is true, set your goals accordingly.
Me? I’ve found that as I age I need the bigger picture and larger context to help keep things in perspective. I have no 10 Step Program for a Better You, no Five Things To Do Today to Buid Wealth and all the other related types nonsense you see flash by on the web in the ephemeral wisp of digital trash as the year ends.
No, I follow a simpler approach and one that I believe I can rely on and refer to as the year waxes on: I just focus on three simple things, wellness, work and friends. I don’t write out full-sentence goal statements (a cardinal sin to professional goal setters!) I just focus on these notions daily and throughout the year. Am I building wellness in all its myriad forms, am I developing and strengthening social ties with friends and family and am I engaged and immersed in my work?
Those are all the goals I need.
Would such a simplistic approach work for you?
I don’t know. But I do know that at our core we have only a few things that we really care about, which really matter to us. So what might work is for you to figure out what those are, and focus on them as opposed to creating a lengthy list of goals as infinitum that run the risk of not lasting weeks much less months.
I have nothing against setting goals in a formal way so if your approach works for you I salute you.
But if you struggle year to year to effect real change maybe it’s time to take it up a level and look at goals from a macro perspective. Find the few things that matter to you. Focus on them. Relentlessly.
And the goals will take care of themselves.
Happy new year.