Setting individual goals for the new year

Now that 2018 is here, it is time to for me to think about my personal goals for the year. And, with a concussion that kept me home on Friday and over the weekend, it gave me ample time to think about what I wanted out of the year ahead.

I was introduced to this concept back in the early 2000s by a former boss, who has since become one of my mentors. Fast-forward about 15 years, I now realize that taking part in this yearly exercise satisfies the top level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, “Self-Actualization”, which is an individual’s desire to reach one’s full potential.

Conceptually, this is no different than putting together a business strategy, except this one is for my own life. Successful businesses always develop annual business plans. Why shouldn’t individuals do the same? While I don’t go into anywhere near as much detail as I would when I put together a business plan, I do focus on the following in my personal plan:

Goals – Long-term and medium-term:

This is where I think about what I want to achieve in the next 4-5 years. Usually I try to limit these to one or two goals since these should be quite lofty and require a fair amount of work to reach. Once I have figured these long-term items out, I break them down into smaller objectives, which will help me get there.

When I do this for the first time, or once I have completed what I set out to and need to come up with a new goal, here are some of the questions I ask myself:

  • Do I have any educational objectives, such as getting my CPA designation?
  • Do I have any specific professional goals, such as getting a promotion?
  • Do I have specific personal objectives I want to reach, such as be one of the top 3 snowboarders in Canada?

Assuming I haven’t yet completed my goal(s), I revisit them annually to make sure that my life circumstances haven’t changed and that the goals are still relevant.

Enablers and actions required to reach my goals:

This is where I write down any enablers I should leverage and the specific actions I need to complete over the next few years to help me reach my goals. I usually break these out over a rolling two-year period and I update them annually.

These are usually quite granular. For example, take the following [x] course, hire a personal trainer on a weekly basis, etc.

I have just completed this exercise for this year. I always find this is personally rewarding and motivating. It helps me stay true to what is important to me, particularly as I evolve through the different stages of my life.

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