Goal Setting: Looking Back so We can Move Forward

Now that the hype of New Year’s is over and the kids are back to their activities and schoolwork, let’s take another look at goal setting and more specifically the goal setting process.

Goals are different than new year’s resolutions. Goals are concrete, measureable, realistic, and if done properly come with a plan of action. Goals create visual and mental targets to hit. It’s hard to get somewhere if you don’t have a destination clearly in mind. Goals provide that destination, while your plan of action gives you the map to get there.

One of the first steps in my goal setting process, whether I’m setting personal or professional goals for myself or educational goals for the kids, is to take a look at the previous year. 

I’m not one to dwell a lot on what’s happened in the past. It’s not productive towards moving forward. I learn from it, make adjustments, and draw a line in the sand and move on.  But once a year, I look back on the previous year with three objectives in mind:

  • to evaluate where I’m at on my long term vision and goals
  • to determine what progress I did make and celebrate it
  • to identify one thing that needs to change the most going into the next year.

Beating ourselves up over missed goals is not productive. Just because we missed our timeline doesn’t mean we missed our goal, we can take a look at the progress we made and see how very far we’ve come and how much closer we are to the goal than we were a year ago, and we can celebrate that.

For example, last year I publically shared three BIG goals that I had for the year: debt free, fit & healthy, and an income goal for my business. None of those goals were fully reached; they are still in progress.

But when I look back, I see the thousands and thousands of dollars in debt that we paid off, bringing us closer to debt free.  While I strugged with new health challenges this year, I made significant progress towards my goal of being a fit & healthy mommy. Health has to come from inside, before it can be reflected outwardly.

Professionally, the income goal wasn’t hit, and yet the foundation was laid. I made major changes in my business last year and crossed off most of my action plan for the year. When I mapped out what my business currently looks like and what assets I have in place through steady progress last year, I find myself  in a much stronger position to make that income goal a reality.

Now it would be easy to look at these three big goals and say, “didn’t make it, so I’m not going to.” and give up. But that would be a waste of all that progress. AND… it’s not the full picture.

Because I had one thing, one goal last year that was the most important. I kept it private, but filtered ALL my decisions about how I was going to spend my time and place my focus through it.  It was about relationships – specifically my marriage and my relationships with my children.

To me, it doesn’t matter if I hit the other goals if my marriage suffers or my relationship with my kids suffers. Dont’ get me wrong, I have put work and income before them before and the price was WAYYYY too high. This last year I wanted to continue to repair and strengthen my relationship with my husband and invest into that relationship, and I wanted the kids to know that they were just as, or even more important than the other things going on in my life.

And in that area, I totally succeeded. Goal was reached. And that is the best success of all.

By taking a look at progress made during the year, I can now set forth goals for the coming year, and identify the one thing that I need to focus on to balance out my energy and focus for the coming year.

If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to take a look at all you accomplished last year. Yeah, stuff happened, but you made progress. Identify it, Celebrate it, …. and let go of what didn’t happen. Let’s focus on what did, and what’s coming in the next year

I believe in you!

…Shannon

P.S. this works wonderfully for setting educational goals for the kids too.  :)

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