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Michael's 10 Commandments of Resolution and Goal Setting
First let me say Happy New Year to everyone. I hope this year is the most prosperous and successful of your life. Because its the New Year and you are probably in the middle of setting this year's Resolutions and Goals, I want to offer some insight in terms of what works for me. This particular process has taken about 18 years to evolve to where it is now. Much of it comes from trail and error as well as suggestions from others. It won't work for everyone, but it absolutely gets results for me and I want to give it to you now as a present.
These are my 10 Commandments of Goal Setting:
1. Pick Only 1 (or 2) Major Projects or Life Changes to focus on- This is the most common error made when making New Year Resolutions. We feel super motivated to make all these amazing changes in our lives and make a list of 15-20 different things we would like to accomplish. The more projects you are working on, the more diluted your focus, the more likely you will accomplish none of them. The reason I have "or 2" in parenthesis, is because some longer projects require taking breaks or getting away from the first or down time or whatever and it can actually help to focus on something else to change things up. If you try to work on 3 or more major projects or resolutions, I can tell you right now, it is going to be tough. Some of you will probably question and ask: "What if I can accomplish this in a month or two, then what?". The answer is simple, at that point, pick a new Project or Goal . Goals and Resolutions are much more manageable when the are arranged in steps, which brings us to the second rule:
2. Become a Master Student of the Sequence - (This is probably the most overlooked part of goal setting). If you have no road map, your resolution/project/goal is just a pipe dream. You must study and become a master of the steps required to take you from start to finish. Once you understand how to break one goal into a sequence of smaller and even tiny steps, it becomes much easier to find your way.
3. The Goal and Sequence Must Be Physically Written Down Somewhere - I am a huge believer of writing down the goals and breaking it down into each manageable step- on paper. Until you write it down, it is easy to "forget".
4. Review and Revise Progress on a Monthly, Weekly and Daily Basis - I prefer to do this on Sundays, and tomorrow is the one I will use for my Resolution of the Year. Typically at the beginning of each Month, and week I break down the steps I need to complete for that time period. My Daily review usually comes in the form of writing a "To Do" list the night before or at the start of the new day. I have a small note book I use for weekly and monthly goals and refer to it throughout the year, and use large legal pads or a wipe board for day-to-day goals.
5. Do not become over ambitious in Goal Setting Your daily goals must be both "reasonable and achievable". Some goals are not achievable at all because they involve pure chance, too many moving parts, or other people's decision making. The best goals and resolutions are the one's where you (or your team) can control nearly all of the variables involved in achieving that goal. Goals involving intelligent, active forces working against you or unmanageable risks/variables make it much more difficult- keep this in mind.
6. Once you have completed your tasks for the day, STOP working on your project. Super, SUPER important Rule, probably one of the most important. You will be tempted to try to "get caught up" or to do "a little more than planned" or to "go the extra mile". Don't do it, it is the fastest way to burn out. If you finish early, you should almost feel a little bummed you have to stop, HUNGRY to go at it again tomorrow. It's almost like fighting an invisible person- ending the day in victory FEELS GOOD and makes you hungry for more. If you decide to keep on adding more and more and more, even after finishing what you planned, it FEELS like you have been DEFEATED. Victory feels good, defeat feels bad.
7. Allow for Flexibility according to your situation - Sometimes you will not finish all of your daily goals- this is OK too. When I do not get my daily goals, they shift over to the next day, preserving the sequence. There were several times last year complete Projects have been abandoned because they did not fit with how the current circumstances had changed. The Chess Pieces are moving, and unless you have some room for error or plan to make adjustments- You will run into trouble.
8. The Goals should be "Measurable" in relation what you are trying to do - Example: Say you are trying to lose weight: "Exercise more often" is an awful goal. This goal is so vague I can't even consider something it as serious. "Burn an extra 300 calories a day" is better goal because it is both flexible and measurable.
9. Find ways to have FUN when working on your Goals. You are going to have success when you can reach your goals in fun, creative ways. For example, "Play Basketball" is typically more enjoyable to most people than running on a treadmill for an hour.
10. Make it an obsession You have to want it as bad as breathing. If you want to "Tippy Toe" around the heart of the matter or if you are not willing to go to war mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually to get what you want, it wont be best to start. If most of your waking thoughts and actions revolve around getting that goal to the point that some people start to question your sanity…I can tell you right now….you are going to get it.
What I am learning from this system, is that when you break it down, focus intensely on it on a day to day basis, you will see success. I typically apply it to DVD and App production and if you saw yesterday's post, you can see it gets results. The beauty of the system is that once you complete a project or goal, you take some time off, and pick another project. Its like having the opportunity to set and attack New Years Resolutions several times a year. Focus intensely on 1 or 2 at a time.
There are a bunch of little other things I could tell you about, like "rewarding yourself" (which you will anyway) or "not losing focus on the most important things like family, church, etc", or the distinction between doing everyday errands which aren't really related to the goals, but when it comes down to the top 10 rules of goal and resolution setting, This is what I would recommend.