How to Set the Right Goals and Make Them Work for You

Set the right goals

Are you starting to lose focus on your goals? If so, you’re not alone. This is the time of year a lot of people lose their focus.

The problem is that annual goal-setting doesn’t work. You can’t plan an entire year and know in advance all the goals you will need to achieve. It’s likely that many of your goals are no longer motivating and many no longer make sense.

If goal-setting hasn’t been working for you, here’s how to set the right goals that will get you where you want to go:

1. Always keep your vision in mind while choosing goals.

The point of setting goals is to support you in moving toward your vision. Without a clear vision, your goals might not . . . → Read More: How to Set the Right Goals and Make Them Work for You


Six Things to Keep in Mind Before Goal Setting


Although January is typically the time of year when we turn to goal setting, too often, it is a waste of time. Let’s be honest. How many times have you achieved all of your yearly goals?

The problem is not with goals. Goals provide focus, create momentum and help us stay on track.

The problem is with the goal setting process itself – choosing the right goals and setting up the right support for them.

Before you set goals this year, keep these 6 things in mind:

1. Start with your current goals.

When goal setting, keep your previous goals in mind to create a sense of flow. Don’t just start over anew each year. For goals that have been accomplished, identify the next . . . → Read More: Six Things to Keep in Mind Before Goal Setting


Pause Before You Plan

pause before you plan


This is a lovely moment. The darkest day of the darkest week of the year in the northern hemisphere.

It is the moment before the balance shifts and light begins to overtake darkness.

On the winter solstice, the rhythm of the sun pauses as it changes direction from decrease to increase.

If we pay attention, we, too, can’t help but pause.

This darkest day of the darkest week beckons us to pause.

What does any great athlete do before they…

…. dive into the water

…. throw the discus

…. grab the rings

They pause.

What are they thinking about?

Nothing — absolutely nothing.

Shabbat means stop, cease. That’s what this week beckons us . . . → Read More: Pause Before You Plan


How to Keep Your Team Goals on Track


“It was so much easier this year to set our team goals, now that we have a shared vision,” Chris remarked, reflecting on the visioning process they had recently completed. “We are way ahead of the curve this year!”

Was he right? Maybe …. It depends on whether his team’s systems and practices support their vision.

Do their policies and procedures make getting the job done easier or harder?

A team might start off aligned around a shared vision, but unaligned systems and practices can quickly derail them.

Are team members dependent on each other in order to accomplish certain goals? . . . If so, what communication processes are in place so they can effectively coordinate their efforts?

Do any of the . . . → Read More: How to Keep Your Team Goals on Track


1001 Mid-Course Corrections

1001 Mid-Course Corrections

I once heard that in order to reach the moon, NASA made over a thousand mid-course corrections.

At first I was surprised. If you know where you’re going, why not just plot the course, like they do on Star Trek?

But then I realized it’s a perfect metaphor for a trap we often fall into when goal-setting.

This 2 minute video explains the trap and how to avoid it:


Your vision will expand and become more clear the closer you get to it, but its fundamental essence will not change. Your goals, however, are your steps along the path. As your path is revealed, your goals may need to change.

Waiting for a yearly review of goals does . . . → Read More: 1001 Mid-Course Corrections


A Big Goal Is Not The Same As a Vision


When you have a vision, you know where you want to go and you can see your next steps – but you won’t be able to see the entire path.

Vision is not about the path, it’s about the destination. As you take each step, the next step becomes clear as long as you stay focused on your vision.

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. ..~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Goals are important.

Goals quantify and define the steps you must take. They are the signposts that let you know you are moving in the right direction. They are measurable and answer questions like When? and How much? (rather than Why? which is addressed by . . . → Read More: A Big Goal Is Not The Same As a Vision


Dig Below Your Dreams to Discover Your Vision

Dig Below Your Dreams to Discover Your Vision

Your vision arises from your hopes and dreams. If you’re not clear about what you really want, you are likely to set goals that will not be truly satisfying once accomplished.

Look below the surface to find the roots of your dreams. You might find that what you thought you wanted is not exactly what you truly desire. If you dig down deeper, you might discover your vision is great than what you assumed.

Chris’ Porsche. Chris said he dreamed of owning a Porsche. Being a “high potential” in the company, he was well on his way to achieving his goal.

In response to questions like “If you had that, then what would you have?” and “Why do you really want that?” Chris responded,

“We . . . → Read More: Dig Below Your Dreams to Discover Your Vision


Goal Setting for Goallessness


My friend Susan wrote, “Although I am ashamed to admit it….I don’t think I have any goals right now. At least there are none that have crystallized for me. I am a goal-setter, always have been, and have achieved almost all that I have set….

What I am trying to do is feel comfortable being in the moment of my life, my career, my health…I know all too well that none of those important ‘issues’ are unchanging. Tomorrow I may lose my job, my health or even my life. I am unsure of my role in my current job, but at the moment I am enjoying it. So…is it a problem to feel goal-less in my life and career? Am I being less productive than . . . → Read More: Goal Setting for Goallessness


7 Things I Learned About Goal-Setting in 1999


In 1999 I decided to re-prioritize my life. My children were five- and ten-years old, and my career was approaching a peak. I travelled two to three days a week and worked an additional 30 hours a week in my home office. I squeezed work into every crack – joining a conference call while preparing breakfast, responding to email while my children played, and preparing program materials after they went to sleep.

January of that year, I wrote several challenging goals. I taped them on the wall next to my computer so they were in plain sight. What’s more, anyone who came into my home office could see them as well.

In the area of work, I decided to make a bold move – to . . . → Read More: 7 Things I Learned About Goal Setting in 1999