It is December, a time for shopping and getting ready for the holidays but also a time to look back on the year and take stock of those goals you set last January. Most people are fairly diligent about setting goals either personally or professionally at the beginning of a new calendar, fiscal, or school year. The rate of revisiting these goals is certainly lower.
Better, more organized workplaces will have a process by which employees pull out last year’s goals to assess progress before moving on to setting goals for the next year but many organizations do not have these structures in place. I know of several people who turn in the same vague goals every year and see it as a necessary annoyance instead of an opportunity for improvement.
Even beyond looking back at goals at the end of a designated period, it is important to check in with your goals on a regular basis. Write down your goals and pull the list out regularly. Before I started checking my goal list regularly, I tended to write down 6-8 goals every year and only 2-3 stuck in my head as I went through the year and the others were a surprise when I pulled the list back out in January. I might succeed in those 2-3 goals that I focused on but the others represented wasted opportunities for me.
In the end, goals are only successful when two key factors are in place:
- Effective goal setting – this will be explored in another post but essentially involves formulating goals that are concrete and assessable.
- Goal revisiting on at least a monthly basis
Without both factors in place, goal setting is indeed an annoying and pointless process but when done correctly, having these goals can significantly improve your life both personally and professionally.
Do you set goals? Do you look at or think about your goals throughout the year?