By Andy Bailey
When goal setting, many people establish goals that are immeasurable and unrealistic. So, it’s no surprise that research from the University of Scranton suggests that only 8 percent of people successfully achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
If you want don’t want to end up like everyone else, then don’t do things like everyone else.
This past New Year’s, I asked three of my best friends to turn a Saturday afternoon into a goal-setting seminar. What began as an awkward afternoon of personal revelation became a dynamic and exciting exercise that held each of us accountable for our own goals and dreams.
We created measurable actions that we’re able to track towards our overall life goals through Petra’s Align Today software program, which helps you discover your Purpose Statement, create your Core Values and tackle a Big Hairy Audacious Goal in life (BHAG). It forces you to be honest with yourself and others while providing the structure and measurements you need to achieve your potential.
I used the following structure to put pen to paper with a group of friends, but you can use the same methodology with your business.
1. Analyze strengths and weaknesses. Start the process by talking through a SWOT analysis. We took turns relaying each other’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and opened the floor for the discussion of each. The honesty, constructive criticism and compliments we shared served as a bonding experience, and helped us figure out our personal strengths and values.
2. Suggest purpose statements. Coming up with a “purpose” for your business is relatively easy, but doing so for your life can be difficult. We jump-started the process by suggesting purpose statements for each other. Using strengths and values from our SWOT analysis, we were able to see our own lives through an outsider’s perspective and think constructively about our future direction.
3. Establish actions. Once you have a purpose, you must implement specific actions that will lead to accomplishing that purpose. In creating goals for your business, break down your income targets, growth goals, etc. for both the long-term and quarterly. For personal goals, create measurable steps you can achieve each week. Instead of saying, “I want to lose 20 pounds this quarter,” say, “I commit to the actions it takes to loose 20 pounds, like exercising 20 minutes a day, five days a week.”
Look even farther ahead with a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG). This is your moment to dream big and make things happen by looking 10, 15 and even 30 years into the future. Align this goal with your core purpose and paint a vivid picture of what it would look like to reach the ultimate milestone in your life.
4. Create accountability. Stay connected with your goal-planning group, and set quarterly phone calls or meetings to check up on your progress. For business accountability, Align Today provides a customizable dashboard that allows you to track others as well as yourself. There is also a space to create “huddle groups” for check-ins. Everyone in a huddle group has a bar chart that shows their goal progress and a calendar of top priorities for easy task management. My friends and I have created a huddle group to check in with each other, report progress and offer encouragement.
5. Realign quarterly. Whether you are interested in goal setting for yourself or for your business, quarterly realignment is a must. As life changes, so do our priorities, and there is nothing wrong with realigning your goals to match your change in direction. This exercise keeps your goals relevant and moving forward for the rest of the year, and if you stick to it, the rest of your life.
Andy Bailey built and sold a multimillion-dollar business and is now lead entrepreneur coach with business coaching firm Petra, and president of Nashville’s EO chapter. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.