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Managing Goals in 2024

Achieving managing goals this year

Each year I spend the last few weeks in December going over my goals and plans for the new year. They’ve stopped being resolutions and more about what I want to accomplish over the coming twelve months. I do the same thing around my birthday in late May. That’s how I justify not calling them resolutions. This is how I manage goals.

Regardless of what you call them, most of us have a sense of focus and direction adjusting the first of each new calendar year. What I want to do today is to caution you from going “to big”. By that, it’s not to say you can’t do certain things. I grew up with a mother who encouraged me that I could “do anything I set my mind to”. While that is certainly fine for building up the confidence of a 10-year-old, that does nothing in the real world as you’re trying to be the best version of yourself. And doing so requires us to learn managing our goals the best way.

With that in mind. Here we go.

Break your bigger goals into small ones

This is not a new concept, but it has worked for me since I started doing it. I used to set annual goals and then broke those up quarterly. Now I break them up monthly. At the start of each week, on Sundays over coffee, I look at what I’m trying to get done this month. Those smaller markers dictate what I put on my list of things to do that week.

Review your goals

An old saying I’ve finally gotten drilled into my head, “what gets inspected gets respected” or something like that fits in here. If you look at what you’re trying to do and measure it against where you are, that is a measurement. Are you ahead, behind, or right on time? What do you need to change to keep on track? Reviewing is the once-a-week scale check. And that’s not just a weight comment. That check-in keeps you honest and accountable to the most important person in this journey. Yourself.

Control what you can control

I’ve learned that I can’t do “anything I set my mind to” because of certain limitations. I’d have loved to have been a linebacker for the Chicago Bears. I’m under 6 foot and not quite built like a linebacker. I could have gotten into really great shape, but my body is not inherently an athlete’s physique. These are outside my control. I can control what I spend my time on, how much energy I put into tasks, and what I learn and get better at.

Making margin to fail

You are going to fail. I know, sorry for being a downer. And, if I’m the first person to tell you this, congratulations. You now know a secret to success. That is, it’s not all going to be success. In fact, it’s going to be more failures than success. It’s part of the process. And that’s OK. Failing, messing up, and falling on your face is part of the process of succeeding. It’s the parts that people DON’T put on social media. But, if you’re going to accomplish any of your goals this year, you are going to fail at some point. Giving yourself the space and permission to do so will be crucial to your ultimate achievement.

Get outside help

No one knows you better than yourself. Except those closest to you. And that’s a weird reality. We have blind spots. Huge ones. Getting perspective from a significant other, dear friend, or coach is crucial here. Find someone you trust and that you’ll listen to at least on occasion. These reality checks help all of us stay on track and make adjustments when needed.

There’s no way I have it all figured out. But after 50 years on this planet, I’m getting there. Write out what you’d love to get done this year. Make that goal a bit more than you think you can achieve now. That’s a stretch for your belief in yourself and your imagination. Keep track of how you’re doing weekly or monthly. And get someone to help you along the way. You got this. Let’s just see what we all can accomplish this year.

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