Goal-setting and The Last Quarter

Saturday is the first day of fall.  Days are getting shorter, football is in full swing, and we’ll be in the holidays before we know it.  Realistically, we have about 3 months left for 2006.

Today, I encourage you to pause and think about what you’d like to do with the last quarter of your year.  What kinds of goals did you set back in January?  This is a good time to reconnect with those goals, whether they’re personal or professional, and to put in some focused time to move forward on them.  Even those of us who don’t adhere to the practice of setting new year’s resolutions (and I am firmly in that camp) benefit from starting a new year better off than we started the previous year.  If you didn’t set goals in January, or if you haven’t been setting goals, consider identifying steps you can take between now and the end of the year that will advance you in some way.

If you’re setting goals, making them SMART goals will increase the chances that you will accomplish what you aim to do.  SMART goals are:

* Specific
* Measurable
* Achievable
* Realistic
* Time-based

Setting goals in this way allows you to be very clear about how you will engineer your approach and how you’ll know when you have achieved the goals.  It’s also a built-in check system, because nothing is quite so discouraging as “deciding” to do something — say, to go from being a couch potato to running an end-of-year marathon — when, realistically, the goal in’t achievable.  Don’t set yourself up to fail.  Instead, aim to go from couch potato to walking a 5K on new year’s eve; that’s a SMART goal, and if you end up running part or all of the goal (and you want to be a runner) then you will have reached and exceeded your goal.

For further help on setting these goals, check out Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles.  It’s a big book, but a quick read with some good reminders.  Check out the Achiever’s Focusing System, available on to The Success Principles website (click on the first link on that page, keyed to Principle 8 ), a planning sheet developed by Canfield to help you set 90-day goals.

And please contact me if you need help in setting and reaching your goals.

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