Want to be Successful in 2011, DON’T SET GOALS
The dreaded Goal Setting Blog and assignment, My marketing reps hate it. They hate trying to be specific, they hate justifying time spent in the office, when they could be out drumming up business, they hate giving themselves rewards for meeting goals, they hate sitting still to be honest. Come to think of it, I’m not fond of it either. I always feel like setting a goal is like selling myself short, what if I can do more. If I write down, “go out and get 10 contracts by Friday”, I could get it done, but what if there were 15 out there and I just left 5 on the table, who’d I help there? I see articles where Goals should be attainable, “Who says?” is there a real negative to not reaching every goal? Don’t tell me to reach for the sky when there are foot steps on the moon, the sky isn’t enough for me (I totally stole that from someone else). The other problem is Goals seem to Fade, looking at last years goals January, and February were strong, in March we waned a little, by April Goals got replaced with mere suggestions and by May we were flying by the seat of our pants. Is it any wonder that by the end of the year we are all just reacting to what is happing around us? If Goals for an entire year are going to work we have to shorten the year to 6 months instead of 12, but I don’t even know who to talk to about that.
I think part of the problem is we have complicated Goal Setting, Heck there is an entire goal setting industry out there, if you google “Goal Setting 2011” the first 3 pages are companies who want to charge you to set your own goals. What if one of your goals was to save money, the first thing you would have to do is fire you newly hired official goal setter, and now you’re back to square one. I had an employee a few years back who had to set a goal AND reward for everything. He would write it down the day before for the next day, “January 3, 2011 Goal # 1 – Get out of bed; Reward – say nice things to yourself in the mirror “, Geesh, I can only imagine the look on my Grandfather’s face if you even suggested something like that.
A quick search through the World Wide Web shows that to reach your Goals you need to be S.M.A.R.T (Because goals should be Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Something that starts with R, and Trackable) also you need a M.A.P. to reach your goals (I couldn’t find what MAP stands for, It cost $299). It would seem to me that in today’s feel good, P.C. , need to be Fluffy and Happy Right Now society, goals are as individual as each of us, just like lovely little snow flakes, unique, special and wonderful. Blah Blah, gag me. Look, it takes work, it takes planning, and to be successful at anything you need be able to say, “Get up stupid, you picked the wrong Lotto numbers again, let’s make something happen… today”. Unless of course you picked the right lotto numbers, then stay in bed, and think about what color your Maserati is going to be. And remember I saved you $299, I am partial to Red.
So we figured out Goals don’t work, they’re too complicated and even if we write them down, in 4 months we will have covered them in bills, and Calvin and Hobbs Comic strips about setting goals. On the other hand, we can’t just do nothing, and wait for NBC to announce that everyone gets to be successful this year. So what DOES work? What if we break down Goals? What if we allow them to change throughout the year? What if we don’t focus on getting to an end result but focus on the stops it takes to get there?
Don’t take this the wrong way I do know people who make goals, write them down, and reach them, but for the most part these people are already driven, already organized and have experienced success with Goal Setting in the past. So if it works, by all means continue, this Blog is for the rest of us. The ones who dream more than execute. The ones who think a pile of papers on the corner of the desk is organized as long as it is stacked in according to the color of the paper. You know, NORMAL PEOPLE.
For the most part I feel Goals tend to 1: Limit, 2: Set people up for failure, 3: They tend to be what a person thinks they want, not what they want to be. Let’s take for an example the most obtuse goal possible. “GOAL: To be a good person” alright now how do you do that? Well good people do good things so in theory you would set yourself an attainable amount of goodness and a measurable amount of time to do it. So this week I will do 7 good things (one per day on average, don’t want to reach too high) and will schedule a time each day (3 hours should be plenty) to find people in need of a good person. That seems like an awful lot of work to be good, why not “JUST BE” a good person. Someone needs help, help them (without expecting something in return). Even worse, what if you don’t find 7 people who need a dose of your Goodness, you just failed your first goal of 2011, and you’re not even a good person. How depressing is that? Hang it up fella, how long before 2012?
Let’s not use the term Goal, besides if we go back to the road map they wanted $299 for, isn’t a map just a series of stops and intersections that form a route and get you (in theory) from where you are to where you think you want to be. So let’s break each route down into stops or objectives. Objectives are easily changed, If your Goal is head to Best Buy to get that 50” Samsumg LED HD TV for $1099 that you didn’t get on Christmas day, but on the way the radio says that same TV is at Cohn’s for $999, I would think you would make a U-turn and save the $100, but in turn would be failing your goal. (Just an example, I’m not sure how much the TV is at either store). Or another one, and more specific, “ I want to lose 22 pounds by February 2, 2011 so I can be skinny in Cozumel”, Is this a SMART Goal?(Ignore the health issues of attempting to shed the equivalent of a 18 month old in 37 days) It seems to be specific enough, it is measureable, some might think it is attainable, I am sure it is whatever the R stands for in SMART, and tracking comes to .5945945 pounds lost each day which is 4.1621215 pounds in a week. Well what if I only lose 3 pounds this week, and then only 3 pounds next week, well at that point I only have 2 weeks left and still far from my goal weight loss. Forget it, give me a Quarter Pound hamburger with ice cream on top, and a Budweiser. How about my Objective for January is to stop drinking soft drinks, or to walk the neighborhood 4 time a week, or to actually imitate Tony Horton on the P90X dvd’s and not just using them as coasters. I have no idea if I will lose 20 pounds, but I will be healthier, I won’t have failed my goal and I may even be third of the way to “That EXTREME body I always wanted” (according to Tony Horton anyway).
It is important to remember that Objectives should turn into a way of life, if an objective is to always end the week by clearing off my desk on Fridays, after some time it will just be habit to clean off the desk, and no longer an Objective. Also I believe Objectives should be quarterly, that way you are forced to update them, by definition Objectives are short term anyway. And while a list of 15 Annual Goals will look daunting, 15 small objectives will be much easier to accomplish and you will be surprised at the positive effects of just changing a few small objectives. There is even an app for it (crazy right), for the droid and Iphone. Search Objective Tapper and put it into play.
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
I am the biggest proponent of priorities (Now a lot of times, what is important to me is not important to anyone else). But because you can’t fail an Objective they don’t expire either. So if something important comes up. Move it to the top of the list. I have a day planner that I carry wherever I go. And it is completely empty, not a stitch of wording in the entire thing. Not even a doodle, what is in it is a sticky pad. And whenever I have something to do I write it on a sticky and stick it to the inside cover. Then at various times I re-evaluate the importance of the sticky. Some get tossed because they are done, some get moved to the top of the stack. I am looking at the bottom one now, apparently get references for daycare wasn’t that important because my kids have been in that daycare for over a year. The Top Sticky now says write Blog and clean out day planner.
Gareth Beale is the Marketing Director for Choice Title LLC, you can respond here, or contact him directly Gareth@choicetitle.com
His weekly Blog can be found here.