Why You Should Set Specific Goals This Year

I know. I know. Not another post on new year resolutions, right?
Talking about goals can be both discouraging and irritating at times. Speaking from my own experience this past year, however, I must say that setting goals was one of the most productive actions I took at the start of 2013.

Time to Reflect
At the start of last year, I had the privilege to attend an overnight retreat with a group of men from my church. Among the many insights our pastor shared with us, he also gave us an end-of-the-day activity that affected me for the rest of the year.

Here is the outline he had us fill out on our own:

Part I
1. What were the major milestones of 2012 (events)?
2. What were the major blessings?
3. Major victories?
4. Major defeats?
5. Major lessons learned?

Part II
Goals for 2013

I won’t go into the all the details of the goals I set for myself, but I did want to celebrate the ones I wrote down for vocational.

I set seven specific vocational actions I wanted to complete during the 2013. Looking back, I completed five of them.

Vocational goals I did reach:
1. To study and register to take and pass my superintendent’s certification exam.
2. To develop my blog with updated links and subscription option that allows free E-book download.
3. To network by interviewing strong leaders including principals of the year and assistant principals of the year.
4. Obtain principal position at Skiatook High School.
5. Research and decide whether or not to pursue doctorate. (I decided against it.)

Here are the goals I didn’t reach:
6. Joining a principal support group/luncheon.
7. Securing speaking opportunities on school leadership throughout the spring, summer, and fall. (I did have two speaking opportunities but not what I was hoping for.)

If you ask the question whether I would have accomplished five of these goals without putting them in writing at the start of the year, the answer is “not likely”.

Advantages to Putting Your goals in Writing
Based on my experience, here are some reasons I believe you should reflect on your goals and write them down:

1. You have roadmap for some specific, measurable goals for the year.
2. By creating a list of more than you think you can reach, you actually achieve more than you think you can achieve.
3. Your list becomes an accountability check throughout the year.
4. You will be motivated to think about even more goals for the coming year.

As you think about your New Year, let me encourage you to take action. Reflect on your priorities, write down your goals, and share them with someone you trust. And then take action. Lord willing, you will have reached some wonderful milestones by the end of the year.

Now It’s Your Turn:
What are some ways you stay motivated to reach your goals? Share your ideas with the rest of us!

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker