How to set goals

The older you get, the more the years seem to just slip away. Take the time during your winter break to set some goals for the New Year. Setting goals can feel overwhelming at times, so keep it simple. I usually try to determine the destination I want to reach by the end of the year. Think about what is it you want to achieve in 2017. The more specific you are when setting your goals, the better. For example, it is easy to say I want to get in better shape this year. Anyone can say that, and it probably will not inspire you. A better goal would be that I want to complete to be able to perform 100 push-ups or run the Army Ten-Miler in less than 80 minutes.

Running the Army Ten miler under 80 minutes is a clear goal.
Running the Army Ten-miler under 80 minutes is a clear goal. I did not run that fast in 2015.

All progress matters so measure it

The simple act of setting goals and writing them down helps put you on the path to achieving them. Last year I set a goal to read one book a month. I was watching too much television. I did not fully achieve the goal, but I did make a lot of progress. It is important to track your progress in order to hold yourself accountable. The list below tracks what I read last year.

Jan – Othello
Feb – King Lear
Mar – Why should anyone be led by you
Apr – None
May – None
Jun – First 90 days
Jul – The Obstacle is the Way
Aug – Ego is the Enemy
Sep – The Power of Habit
Oct – Outliers
Nov – Essentialism
Dec – Call for a New Strenuous Age

The list is hardly impressive, but it does show that progress was achieved. I have found that if I do not set goals, write them down, and track progress, then I tend to get less done. I kind of just muddle my way through the year…no way to live.

“Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll give you someone who will change history. Give me someone with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk.” JC Penney


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