Winston Churchill said that the person that fails to plan plans to fail!

Some time ago, I read a great blog post by Michael Hyatt titled The Beginner’s Guide to Goal Setting. While I had heard, and even taught, much of the information in the article, I had not been applying it for quite some time! So, with a renewed passion for progress, I put this valuable information to work! Let me share with you my progress in this short journey …

I chose seven areas of my life that needed improvement; and I then began to set goals for each. I will not share publicly what all of those goals were per Michael’s advice. However, being active in this blog was one of them. I will tell you that I have seen significant progress in each of the seven areas, and that one of them is just one step away from completion. In fact, the goal with the least amount of progress is still about 40% complete.

The best leadership book that I have ever read (and there have been many) said, “Write the vision, and make it plain!” Of all of the advice on goal setting, this is most valuable! You have to write things down! If you do not write clear goals, you can fool yourself later into thinking that you have accomplished what you set out to do, when in reality you fell far short of the goal. The other reason that goals need to be written is that they need to be regularly reviewed to measure progress … I review my goals a minimum of once a week. I bought a small moleskin notebook that I carry with me most of the time so that I can monitor progress, and make adjustments as necessary. I look forward with great anticipation to checking off the first of many completed goals!

While I do not want to regurgitate all of what Michael Hyatt said, I would rather you read his blog post, I do want to include his guide to smart goals …

Specific — your goals must identify exactly what you want to accomplish in as much specificity as you can muster.

Measurable — as the old adage says, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” If possible, try to quantify the result. You want to know absolutely, positively whether or not you hit the goal.

Actionable — every goal should start with an action verb (e.g., “quit,” “run,” “finish,” “eliminate,” etc.) rather than a to be verb (e.g., “am,” “be,” “have,” etc.)

Realistic — you have to be careful here. A good goal should stretch you, but you have to add a dose of common sense. I go right up to the edge of my comfort zone and then step over it. (If I am not out of my comfort zone, I’m not thinking big enough.)

Time-bound — every goal needs a date associated with it. When do you plan to deliver on that goal. It could be by yearend (December 31) or it could be more near term (September 30). A goal without a date is just a dream. Make sure that every goal ends with a by when date.

I have this information written on the first page of my notebook along with some quotes that give me inspiration and keep me balanced …

Preparation creates opportunity!

Thoughts create actions … Actions become habits …Habits build character!

“Men create their habits, and their habits decide their future.” — Mike Murdock

“Believe you can, and you’re half-way there!” — Theodore Roosevelt

“The only guy that starts on top is the guy digging a hole!” — Creflo Dollar

My favorite is, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” — Albert Einstein

Remember that, every day we decide who we are going to be by the actions we take!