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What Are Your Goals for 2012? (by Stephen Simpson)

Welcome to January – a time for resolutions and new beginnings.  It is a time to reflect on the past year.  It is a time for evaluation. 
I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  In my opinion, they are usually too open ended and too un-specific.  For example, “I’m going to lose weight in 2012.”  How much weight?  When are you going to lose it?  To accomplish this resolution, you simply have to lose half-an-ounce at some point.  You do not have to keep the weight off, you just simply have to lose it.  

Instead of resolutions, I am a huge fan of setting specific goals.  A few years ago, I started writing down a list of goals each January.  Then, I supdate my goals list at least once per month.  If I have completed one of my goals, then I cross if off the list.  Doing this has tremendously helped me track my progress. 

I just finished working through my goals list for 2011.  There were many things on that list that I accomplished.  There were also many things that were left undone.  It was encouraging to track the progress that was made.  Here are some examples:
  • “Fix the tail light on the minivan.”  Done!
  • “Fix the kitchen light.” Not done Lyet…
  • Grow church facebook page to over 300 likes.”  Done! Currently at 356!
  • “Grow Window mailing list to 300.”  Not done L  currently at 289 (but we did make progress by adding 35)

My point is this – writing down your goals will help you accomplish them.  Reviewing them each month will go another step in encouraging you to meet your goals.  As you write your goals, be as specific as possible.  Consider these examples:
  • “Save more money” (very unspecific)
  • “Save $5,000 by the end of the year” (very specific; If you update your goals list each month with the current balance in your savings account, you will be able to easily track your progress.)
  • “Read more” (bad goal – too undefined)
  • “Read 1 non-fiction book per month” (As you finish a book, add its title to your goals list.  At the end of the year, you will be able to easily count how many non-fiction books you have read.)

So, before the month of January ends, I encourage you to set aside some to think through all that you would like to accomplish during 2012.  Imagine yourself sitting down on January 1, 2013.  What would you like to be completed before then?  Write it down and then get to work.  

What are your goals for 2012?