I’m sure you’re sick to death of everyone telling you the best way to go about setting goals for 2017, but please bear with us, because we have BizSmart Select Member and Time Doctor Mike Gardner with us, giving his unique take on this topic.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve heard me say that time management is quite simple in concept. It is nothing more than taking action for the right reason, at the right time and in the right way.
- For the right reason (because it is linked to a goal or objective)
- At the right time (by prioritising)
- In the right way (by being organised)
Most time management systems are very good at telling you how to prioritise and get organised but are not so good with the most important element – doing things for the right reason.
Why do they get it wrong?
Most commentators will talk about setting goals asking all the time “what do you want to achieve?” This is great but it is only a third of the equation. I’d argue that in setting only achievement goals, you’re setting yourself up for failure in one or more aspects of your life and business.
So, what type of other goals should we be setting?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for setting achievement goals and striving to improve ourselves and our situation. But not at any cost. We have to take a holistic view of goal setting and that includes setting achievement goals, along with preservation goals and elimination goals so that we ensure that we get a healthy balance in all areas of our lives.
Preservation goals are those goals we set to ensure that we keep the things in our lives that we want to keep. Sometimes these goals might make us rethink our achievement goals. For example, you may want to achieve a six-figure business in the next twelve months. But you also want to preserve the weekends that you spend with your family. And you wouldn’t want to jeopardise your Tuesday evenings because you watch your son play football, and your Thursdays because that’s when you watch your daughter at her dance class. How willing are you to give up these things to achieve your six-figure business?
Elimination goals are the goals that we set to remove the things from our lives that we don’t want. Perhaps you have unhealthy levels of stress. Perhaps your relationship is not all that you’d like it to be. These goals can also impact our achievement goals. How is striving for your six-figure business going to help improve your situation? Maybe it would be better to set an achievement goal to spend an evening or two a week with your partner to try and make the relationship stronger. Having a date night once a week may not get you a six-figure business, but it will help you to make sure your relationship is in a good place.
But before we can write our goals down we must have a way of identifying what we want, and this can sometimes be a stumbling block, so to help you here’s a simple system.
A Simple Goal Setting System
I believe in keeping systems as simple as possible and this goal setting system is no different. It consists of asking yourself two questions:
The Two Key Questions
The two questions that you need to ask yourself when setting goals are:
- Do I have it in my life/business?
- Do I want it in my life/business?
The answers to the above questions can only be answered yes or no.
Do I have it in my life/business? Yes – Do I want it in my life/business? Yes
If you answered yes to both questions you have just identified your preservation goals. What action do you need to take to ensure that these things are preserved in your life?
Do I have it in my life/business? Yes – Do I want it in my life/business? No
If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second question, you have just identified your elimination goals. What action do you need to take to ensure that these things are eliminated from your life?
Do I have it in my life/business? No – Do I want it in my life/business? Yes
If you answered no to the first question and yes to the second question, you have just identified your achievement goals, what action do you need to take to ensure that you make progress towards achieving these goals? But, more importantly, what effect will heading towards these goals have on other areas of your life?
We have all heard of people who are very successful in their business lives but their personal lives are a car crash, and that is because they have focused on achievement goals to the detriment of everything else in their life.
It’s my firm belief that if we are setting goals in a holistic way, then we will find it a lot easier to prioritise our tasks and do them in an organised way.
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