How to Create Goals That You’ll Actually Achieve!

January is a great time to reflect on the past and set a course for the future.   Some of us are setting out to create Big Changes, and some of us are simply striving to successfully manage the challenges and opportunities that each day of the New Year will bring… without burning out!

As you make your New Year’s Resolutions or create your or your organization’s key goals for the next 6-12 months, ask yourself one question:

Do my goals inspire me?  Are the goals actually what you want?  Or do they read more like a To Do list, or a list of things you “should” do?

  • I will lose 20 pounds.
  • I will increase sales.
  • I will balance the budget.
  • I will find a new job.
  • I will be more attentive to my spouse.

Sound familiar?  Are any of your Resolutions or Goals the same ones you set last year… and didn’t achieve?  If so, what will you do differently to achieve them this time (and without being hard on yourself, feeling guilt, etc.)?

There are many factors that go into this, and for today I’d like you to think about one word:

Motivation:  “The condition of being eager to act or work! The act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something.”

Goals are only good if we achieve them!  So make sure that what you write down is really want you want! Do your goals motivate and excite you as they are written?  Will they motivate others? What will make the difference?

Three action steps you can take today:

  1. Take Stock. Take a minute, and think. Ask yourself: What do I really wantWhy? What will happen when my goals are achieved?  What will the impact be?  To whom?  Why will it matter?
  2. See the glass half empty (just for a minute!). Now, for additional motivation – Ask yourself: What will happen if my goals are not achieved?  What will the impact be?  To Whom?
  3. Try it out. Now, go back to your Resolutions and Goals and re-state them with this new framework of intended impact. Complete this sentence:  “I am doing this in order to…” or So what?

Here are some examples of how I’d re-state some of the goals on the original list above (yours will be even better!):

  • In 2016 I will make choices every day that support creating an environment for me to do my best work and help others, so that I can be on top of my game professionally and fully present and engaged with my family! [NOTE: being healthy is critical to achieving this. Exercising more or making dietary choices that support the outcome you are seeking will be actions you may choose.  Losing weight may be one of the resulting outcomes.]
  • I will create an organization that is engaging its stakeholders on a regular and consistent basis, is valued by the community, and is creating increased impact through exciting, mission-driven work! [Implementing a donor engagement program, purchasing a new CRM, and launching a capital campaign, may be some of the actions you choose. An increase in revenue may be one of the resulting outcomes.]
  • I will create an organization where everyone knows the impact we are striving for, how they each fit into the whole, and how our impact will be achieved so that we can help each other succeed! [Sharing budgets with YTD updates, celebrating reaching key income (and impact) milestones, empowering through accountability and budget management, all could be actions you choose; resulting in the desired outcome of balancing the budget.]
  • I will take responsibility for my career trajectory or role in a relationship and – before making any big changes – will determine if/why I want to leave the current situation, or why a new job opportunity or relationship seems attractive, so that I can determine whether a move is needed or whether what I’m bumping up against is a frustration or trigger of some kind that I need to create new strategies to address! [Bigger is not always better, the grass is not always greener, and problems and frustrations being faced now can appear in the new situation – i.e. omg – it may be YOUR issue, and it will follow you wherever you go!]

Of course, this exercise only gets at the tip of the iceberg to setting your intention and creating the change you envision, and now that you know the impact (both positive as well as knowing what will happen if you don’t achieve the goals), you can start creating the implementation plans and the embodied choices [your thoughts, language, behaviors, feelings…and yes ACTIONS] that will motivate you and actually get you from where you are now, to where you want to be!

— Did this resonate with you?  Please share your 2016 intentions with me in the comments section below!  Was this exercise harder than you expected?  Did you get stuck?  Let me know!  [email protected]

To your success,


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