A New Year, a New...Whatever
I'm not a big fan of making New Year's resolutions, but I am a big fan of setting goals.
I don't consider myself "fine just the way I am," I realize I need work. I always need work, because I always want to be better so that I am able to do more, cuz doing is fun.
With that in mind, I've decided to focus on the concept of goal setting for this blog post.
Why set goals?
Well, that's honestly, pretty simple to say, and more complex to understand. Goals provide guidance towards, well, achieving goals.
Without setting goals it's easy to lose track of what you are aiming for, for the target you had initially set out to hit to shift in your mind, and to become aimless, struggle, and ultimately fail to reach your destination.
Who sets goals?
I mean, other people can set goals for you, and if you ask a good consultant or counselor to do so, they can be very helpful, because someone with more knowledge than you is helping you define and target specific goals that will help you achieve what you're after. However, if you know enough about what you are doing, setting the goals yourself can help you streamline the process of getting from where you are to where want to be.
What should you set a goal for?
As an automotive hobbiest, it can be very helpful to set goals for yourself, for your hobby, or for your interests.
A goal can pertain to any measureable, definable target. So goals can illuminate results by quantifying and qualifying what it is you expect to achieve. They can also tell you how much you want to spend, or how many you want to produce.
When should you set goals?
This one is pretty simple, but if you don't have a great deal of experience in either, 1, what you are setting the goal for, or 2, goal setting, it might not be so obvious.
You should set goals before you get started.
Remember, goals are a guide, like a map for strategy and tactics to achieve your end result(s).
When do you need to set them?
The more complex or longer the goal, the more you need to set them.
Where should you set goals?
Preferably a place where you can get a good perspective on what you want to achieve. A place that provides both knowledge and relaxation, as well as the time necessary to explore your goals in detail.
Goal setting requires research, so don't expect it to happen quickly or if you do, for the goals you've set to be worth a damn. Sorry, not sorry, this is just reality. Goals take time and effort just like anything else worth doing.
And setting goals is definitely worth doing.
Aha! Important shit here.
How should you set goals?
First, we need to define what makes a goal, a goal:
Goals are SMART – a mnemonic acronym that defines what an ideal goal should be.
- Specific – carefully defined, in detail. What it is and what it isn't.
- Measureable – that's right, made up of criteria which are quantifiable or qualifiable.
- Attainable – meaning they aren't some pie in the sky objective like flying to the moon (if you aren't an astronaut), they have to be realistic and achievable within your means.
- Relevant – meaning they need to be relevant to what it is you are trying to achieve, so mixing cement probably has nothing to do with replacing a front fender.
- Time-based – a goal needs to be both trackable and have a due date to work towards, otherwise, it can go on indefinitely and then you are back to being aimless.
Now the how.
- Identify them – figure out what goals you want to pursue.
- Select them – choose the goals that are the most pressing and the most relevant. Your resources are limited and limited resources means having to choose the most important and aligned goals.
- Define them – this is where the SMART acronym from above comes into play.
- Pursue them – put in the effort, but do it in an intelligent way that includes good resource management, like time and energy.
- Evaluate them – it seems weird to evaluate your goals, because once their achieved they're achieved, but especially with complex goals, looking back over how well you did, both in execution and results can help you set better goals in the future. It really is a critical step.
Goal setting is a complex process that would be difficult to cover in a simple article or post, however, there are at least two small books that do a good job of addressing the challenges of setting and achieving goals.
You can find them on Amazon or from a number of other sources:
- Harvard Business Press: Pocket Mentor: Setting Goals, by Penny Locey and Linda A Hill from Harvard Business Revew Press. 96 pages.
- Goal Setting, 2E, by Susan B Wilson and Michael Dobson from AMACOM. 128 pages.
Good luck with your own goals this year. I hope you knock them out of the park.
Happy New Year!