Setting G.O.A.L.S. in the New Year
Would it surprise you to discover that about 23% of people who make goals each January will give them up by the end of the first week? And did you know that as the month concludes, 43% will have left those goals by the wayside? If this kind of abandonment occurs during a time traditionally set aside for personal and professional goal setting, is it any wonder that many individuals are willing to relinquish important objectives during the remaining months of the year? (for these and other statistics, see the February 2023 post “Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail” at https://fisher.osu.edu/blogs).
At LEADon®, we believe it’s not only possible for people to set achievable goals but also to successfully accomplish them, no matter the setting or season. What’s essential for such success, however, is a straightforward strategy—one that our team has summarized with the simple acronym G.O.A.L.S.:
Let’s break our G.O.A.L.S. method down for you. First, for any objective to be truly achieved, those results must be measurable. So, whether it is a personal goal (for instance, getting in better physical shape) or a professional one (like becoming more fiscally stable), determining how you will measure your success must be considered before you begin to strive for anything. Next, orientation should also be part of this pre-planning process. We explain orientation as an aerial view of the pathway for meeting a particular goal. In other words, you need to gain perspective and consider the steps needed to reach a goal as well as potential problems that may require midcourse corrections along the way. In the case of a personal goal like weight loss, you ought to think weeks and months ahead. What small steps will you take to reach your desired weight, and what obstacles (vacations, holidays, etc.) might create some setbacks during this journey?
Perhaps the most obvious characteristic for successful goal setting is that each objective should be achievable. Unfortunately, many individuals set the bar for their goals far too high, which often sets them up for failure rather than success. One way to make sure your goals are attainable is to discuss them with a qualified mentor. As we explain in Revolutionary Leadership: Transcendent Lessons from the Life of George Washington, qualified mentors not only provide personal and/or professional support but they must also “model who you want to be or where you would like to grow” (Wilke & Wilke, 2023, p. 121).
Needless to say, never set a goal if you don’t like it. We realize that not all aspects of change are pleasant (like getting physically or fiscally in shape), but if you can’t see any redeeming value in the process, you’ll probably end up in the stats mentioned above. At LEADon, we recommend you attach a “likeability” factor to every goal you establish—which usually means some kind of tangible reward for you, your team, or your organization when objectives are met. Indeed, these times of accomplishment are perfect for celebrating success in some way (see Chapter 10, “Celebrating the Family,” in Corporate Family Matters: Creating and Developing Organizational Dynasties for specific celebratory ideas for you company).
Finally, the team at LEADon firmly believes in sharing your goals for accountability purposes. Why? Because more than likely, you’ll be invested in achieving your objectives when individuals on your personal or professional team can help verify your progress. In addition, if you are including team members as part of the goal-accomplishing process, please remember that those “people must be willing to commit to one another in a harmonious manner so that goals and objectives can be attained” (The Leading Edge: 9 Strategies for Improving Internal and Intentional Leadership Wilke & Wilke, 2019, p. 52).
If you’d like additional ideas on LEADon’s goal-setting strategies, we also suggest you review our online course, LEADers Set Effective G.O.A.L.S.® . For this and over thirty other leadership courses, please go to www.leadonuniversity.com, or contact us directly at 858.592.0700 so we can personally answer any of your questions.