Step 1 – Create a list of goal categories.
My categories change only slightly each year but they are basically
- Personal Development
- Impact on the World
These came from my personal manifesto that I wrote some years ago. Essentially, it is a road map for the things that I think are important in life and what is going to make me happy.
Step 2 – Brainstorm goals for the year
I like to use a piece of free software called FreeMind. It is a simple mind mapping program that lets you create categories and connect things. I’ll often write a mind map on paper but the computer program is useful too. You can see my 2012 mind map here. I pretty much put down any idea that occurs to me under those areas. When I get to the next step I pare down the list a bit but during the brainstorm phase, anything can happen.
Ideally, you’ll create goals that have numbers associated with them. For example, I have a mileage goal (1500 miles) and I have a weight goal (180 lbs). Goals that don’t have a number associated with them (e.g. Improve relationship with family) are much tougher to complete because you won’t have a way to determine whether or not you were successful. For goals like this, I try to re-write and quantify them during the planning stage.
Step 3 – Make your plans
Here is the key to accomplishing these goals. At the brainstorm phase things are just wishes. To actually accomplish something you have to create a plan. If you’re like me you’ll soon find that there isn’t enough time to do everything and you’ll start cutting things out. Of course, I have a hard time cutting things out so many of my goals go unfulfilled. I never mind this much because I accomplish enough to keep myself satisfied.
Some goals, the plans write themselves. For instance, I have a goal to “run every day”. My plan is simple…run every day. For goals that have a number attached to them, I can split them up during the year and schedule when to work on them. For example, I want to “Draw 12 pictures”. So, I schedule a day on my Google Calendar that sends me a reminder to draw a picture. I only have moderate success here because I often am too distracted with other things that I don’t spend time on the goal. This year, I’m going to be better. I will not so easily ignore those things.
Step 4 – Track your progress
For me, this is the key. You’ve figured out some goals, made some plans, but if you don’t keep track of your progress you’ll have a much tougher time staying motivated to succeed. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of my goals and have done so since 2003. It’s really cool to be able to look back at my years and remember things that I’ve done. This does require me to look at the spreadsheet every day but I don’t much mind that. I’m at the computer every day anyway. You can see a version of my goal spreadsheet here. This isn’t my complete list but these are the key things that I keep track of and are the ones that are most likely to be accomplished.
2012 Joggling Goals
So, here are my 2012 joggling goals in no particular order.
- Joggle every day (365 times)
- Complete 1500 miles joggling
- Complete the 100+ miler and set new Guinness World Record
- Complete 4 joggling marathons
- Complete 2 joggling half marathons
- Complete 4 other races
- Write a blog post every day
- Record 12 joggling related videos
- Post 6 joggling related podcasts
- Improve the design of this Joggler blog
I do have an unstated goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon but the reality is that if I’m training for an Ultramarathon, doing a fast marathon is not likely to happen. I’d be happy if it did happen but I’m not setting it as a goal. For that I may wait until I’m 45 and I get a 5 minute cushion.
What are your goals this year? How do you go about setting them? And how successful are you? Leave a comment below.