“The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

How many of you have already given up on your New Year’s Resolution? How many of you are still waiting for the right moment to start the exercise and diet routine or going to bed earlier? Well, January has passed and we are well into the first quarter of 2012. As a business owner or senior level manager you are probably well into executing your strategic plan but, as a private person, have you thought about setting personal goals or goals for your family?

For most professionals goal-setting is a no-brainer. Business owners will engage in annual goal-setting sessions and larger companies will engage in strategic planning. Most of us regular folk use some kind of strategic plans in the professional arena, while we do not believe in the same approach in our personal life. But if the process is so successful in a professional arena, why not apply it to our personal lives? Why not set a goal of having more “joy” or “clarity” in life?

This year I encourage you to go full out and design both your personal and professional life plans with you at the center, being the lead architect. Here is a simple 4-step method to assist you in creating meaningful goals for both your personal and professional lives.

Step 1: Creating Personal Values:
In order to create meaningful goals we need to work from the inside out. I believe only those goals that are rooted and aligned with our values are truly meaningful. If you have never thought much about your values, there is no time like the present. Consider the following questions: What’s important to you? What makes you tick? What brings you joy? A word of advice: don’t make it hard. It is not difficult. We all know what is important to us. Choose 3-5 values and move on. You can always refine later.

Step 2: Selecting Goal Areas
The next step is to look at different areas of your life such as: health & wellness, finance, relationships, home or living environment, spiritual growth, volunteer work, fun and recreation. Take a moment to reflect on each category and write down some goals for 2012. For example in the “physical environment” category, I might get the house painted, lay tiles in the kitchen and remodel the bathroom. In the “family” category, I might want to improve communication with my spouse, go on a family vacation and deepen my relationship with my mother. After you have your list, take a look to make sure you haven’t set so may goals that you feel overwhelmed already.

And if you need some help, below is a list from productivity guru, David Allen. Here is what he would have you look at creating in 2012.

Step 3: Aligning Values with Goals
The next step is easy. Take a look at the goals you jotted down and make sure they are in line with your values. If they are not, reconsider their priority for your life. If they are, decide which ones are most important and which ones will need a deadline to make sure they get accomplished. Be sure the goals do not conflict with one another. For example, traveling to Europe for six months out of the year conflicts with participating in a year-long weekly prayer group at home.

Step 4: Breaking Your Goals Down and Taking Action
Once you have all your goals mapped out, it is time to break them down into tiny, little action steps. Take each goal, one at a time, and decide what has to get done first and by when. For another example, let’s go back to my kitchen, all right? I want new tile on the floor. First, I need to decide if I want to do the work myself or have someone else do it. I decide I will get some help, but buy the materials myself. Next is measuring the room and picking out tile. Then I will need to find someone who can lay tile, etc. And I would like to have it completed before May, when I will be hosting house guests. None of this is really difficult, but most of us soon find reasons to stop shortly after we’ve begun, leaving us doing what most of us do oh so very well……nothing.

What’s left? After breaking down your goals into tiny little steps with a timeline, all that’s left is fulfillment. If the steps are reasonable and you pace yourself well, you will have no trouble accomplishing every goal on your list. Go ahead and begin, and let nothing stop you from having a fabulous 2012.

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