The beginning of the year, specifically January 1st, is one of my favourite times of year. Every year on New Years Day, Raylene and I sit down and write a list of 100 goals for the upcoming year. We spend all day together just hanging out and dreaming about what the next year has in store for us. I love this time spent with my wife (and now my son) and how it brings us closer together by joining us in a common purpose. This time is so important because, as my best friend and mentor Claude Hamilton says, if you don’t have a goal, you will hit it with amazing accuracy.
The goals we make are about anything and everything; levels we want to achieve in our business, levels we want to help other people achieve in their business, trips we want to take, trips we want to send people on, things we want to buy, things we want to buy for other people. Some of my favourite goals we have hit in the past haven’t been for our benefit, but for the benefit of others. I remember setting a goal to take my Mom and Dad to New York to See a Yankees game and then being able to make that goal a reality. They both had huge permanent smiles that were on their faces for days! If Raylene and I hadn’t sat down on New Years day that year, who knows if we ever would have been able to create those amazing memories with my parents.
Basically, there are only three simple things we do on January 1st to start our year off in the right direction;
Your goals have to be written down. Sitting down and just thinking of a bunch of cool stuff you would like to do, see and have is not enough. You aren’t committed to those things. You become committed to your goals when you commit them to paper. You become even more committed when you do this with your spouse because they can keep you accountable. If you don’t hit a goal that you were just thinking about, its no big deal really. But if you don’t hit a goal that you had written down and posted somewhere that you could see it all the time, it will burn within you. You will be motivated to stretch yourself and do whatever it takes to hit that goal because it is staring you in the face.
Why 100 goals? Why not 25? 50? The first time Raylene and I sat down to write out 100 goals we thought it was going to be easy. We thought wrong. By goal 60-something we were stuck. Both of us had a very difficult time coming up with more goals. We write down 100 goals because that in itself is a goal. We are stretching ourself to find our motivation. When we sit down every year the first goals are easy to come up with, its hard to write as fast as we can say them. But there comes a point every year when we begin to slow down and really have to think hard about what our next goal should be. And often, those are the goals that are most meaningful to us and push us the hardest. Going beyond 100 goals is a bonus, but I really encourage you to stick with it until you have written down 100.
3) Goals vs. Resolutions
The reason I am talking about setting goals here and not setting resolutions is simple. One of the number one resolutions every year is “lose weight” or “get in shape” or something along those lines. That is why gym membership sales skyrocket in December and January. The problem is, “getting in shape” is not specific at all, it’s very hard to see progress so people become disheartened and quit. If however they set a GOAL to “lose 10 pounds”, they could gradually see themselves progressing to their goal. They could see that they’ve lost .5 pounds one week and 1 pound the next. These things are measurable and will therefore keep them motivated to continue until they have reached success. The same things is true for anything, not just losing weight. You could set a resolution to “read more” but what does that really mean? How can you know if you are reading more if you aren’t measuring anything. Instead, set a GOAL to “read 30 books this year” or “read one book per month”. Those goals are measurable and you can’t easily keep yourself accountable to them.
It is never too late to sit down with your spouse and start your list of 100 goals. It might work better for you to write lists separately until you hit your plateau then combine your efforts to come up with the rest. Whatever you do, I really urge you to come up with a list of 100 goals for 2014 and see how many you can accomplish. You may not get everything done this year, or even the next, Raylene and I have had to put goals on our list 2 and 3 years in a row before we hit them. The timeframe in which you hit them is not the most important thing, it is that fact that you commit and re-commit yourself to chasing after them until you reach success.