Do You Set Monthly/Quarterly/Yearly Goals?

This is the second of four articles that share what I learned from my informal poll on tasks, goals and balance (first articlethird article, fourth article). The exact form of the questions changed slightly as calls were made, but in general it was three questions and some follow up questions after each. This article is about the second question.

I was happy to learn that a lot of people do set some sort of long term goals for themselves or their business (long term here being more than a week). However, I’d wager that a majority of the people I talked with do not write their goals down.

Personally, when I don’t write my goals down I forget them, or forget some of the details. I might accidently give myself an extra week or month to complete the goal or dial the goal back slightly without realizing it.

So, I write them down and look at them at least weekly. Why? Well, if I don’t then I have the same problem I mentioned above. Or I realize that there’s one goal that completely fell off my radar. Kind of an “Oh, I was going to do that too?!”

Which brings me to a reason that some people don’t set goals or if they do, don’t write them down: we’re afraid we won’t reach them. If we don’t write them down then we can change them slightly (or forget about them) and not beat ourselves up about it.

Want to know a secret? Your goals aren’t set in stone! Write down your goals down and review them at least once a week. If your priorities have changed – you can change your goals!

There are a couple things I want you to do if you decide to change or drop a goal. First, write down that you changed it. Write down what the goal was and what you changed it to or if you removed it. Anytime you change a goal, add it this list. Second, review the list. Why? You’re looking for patterns. Are you constantly changing or removing goals around a specific area? If so, one of the following things might be happening:

  1. The goal didn’t have well defined steps. For example, you decided that you wanted to earn x amount of money in three months, but you didn’t write down specifically the steps to take you there.
  2. You have some resistance or fear around the goal. Perhaps you’ve decided that you want to make more phone calls and talk to more people, but every week you find more important things to do instead. Baby steps are fine! Take a look at what is reasonable for you. For me, making 30+ phone calls in a week freaked me out, but making 10 or 15 seemed daunting, but doable. Heck, if 10 or 15 is daunting to you, make five instead.
  3. Maybe this goal just isn’t for you! Be really honest with yourself though and make sure that your gut is telling you your energy is best used elsewhere (instead of acknowledging that the real reason might be #2 above).

Do you write down your goals? If so, where (paper, online program, calendar, something else)?