Goals Are More Than Statements
By Dr. Alvin Thomas
It’s a new year and a fresh start. Many people start January with resolutions to get healthy, eat right and exercise more. As 2017 approaches, what do you want to accomplish in the next year? Resolutions are nice, but it’s no surprise that the majority of them fail. The reason? Resolutions aren’t goals. To succeed in achieving something, you need to set a goal that is specific and has due dates. Goals, unlike resolutions, will help you to focus on a specific outcome and will guide your life’s vision. If you were to examine any successful business or person, you would find a list of goals that guide them but more importantly, the goals that are leading them.
Where there is no vision, there is no growth.
Goals provide a vision in the same way a successful leader does for his or her followers. Vision is important because it provides sight and light to the future. Without a vision, the future can be dark, murky and confusing. Goals give clarity and a sense of direction to your life. They provide something to aspire to and give you a sense of purpose.
Without goals, it’s difficult to determine what to put your time and energy toward. It’s like a ship without someone steering; it will be taken wherever the wind blows. With goals, your life is in focus, and your future is more unwavering and secure. Furthermore, they set the stage for success. Long story short, just like great leaders set goals, great goals sets the leadership for your life.
Make each goal personal and precise.
Your goals need to begin with “I, my, we or us.” This makes the it personal and related to you. Make each one specific and time sensitive. A goal is also a target, so it needs to be precise and to the point. Your goal should act as your vision of success!
Examples of Unachievable Goals
- Go back to school.
- Payoff credit cards.
- Get a new job.
While these may seem like a good start, the goal examples above are broad and impersonal. Your goals should be written in a personal and precise format.
Examples of Achievable Goals
- I will get an acceptance letter from my first-choice college.
- I will receive my credit card statement showing a $0 balance.
- My first day at (name of the new job) will be a success.
See the difference? Same goals but stated personally and precisely.
Set quantifiable parameters around your goals.
Lastly, goals need to have a timetable and be quantifiable. Set up checkpoints along the way to achieve your goals. Let us apply this to the three goals mentioned earlier.
- I will get an acceptance letter from Kennesaw State University by May 2017.
- I will receive my credit card statement showing a $0 balance by November 15, 2017.
- On June 1, 2017, my first day at (name of the new job) will be a success.
Setting up checkpoints allows you to monitor your progress. Determine a monthly time where you stop and check your progress. If you see you are not on track to achieve your goals, adjust them accordingly. There is nothing wrong with adjusting your goals; the fault is in not achieving your goals.
This is your year to achieve all your heart’s desires. Remember, those who fail to plan, plan to fail! Enjoy the goal-setting process. Write them down and make them personal, precise and quantifiable as well as fitting to your timetable. Trust the process.
Dr. Alvin Thomas, Jr. is currently, an assistant principal for Cobb County School District in metro-Atlanta. His wife is Marilyn, and they have a daughter. Dr. Thomas is a lifelong educator and enjoys helping people realize their full potential through goalsetting.