Goal setting is a great activity – the act of thinking about what you want in life, planning out how to achieve it, and setting those plans in motion.
However, I think there are varying degrees within the overall realm of goal setting. Someone who writes down their goals then acts on them daily surely gets more out of the process than someone who writes them down then stores them in a drawer.
So within that thought – what are you doing to keep your goals top of mind? Let me explain how I got to this state of mind.
My Book List
I have a goal about staying up-to-date on my planned book list. As you might have guessed, this is a list of books that I would like to read throughout the year (which I write every December). However, recently I found myself falling behind on this effort. I had the goal, I had it broken down in to small steps (reading specific books every month, assigned by week), but for some reason it just wasn’t fully sticking.
I had a problem: in the day-to-day shuffle, other activities had taken top of mind precedence. Unfortunately, as a side effect of that, my reading goal settled to the bottom.
So I asked myself: how can I keep my book list top of mind when it is ideal to have it top of mind? There is no point thinking about how far behind I am while at work – there’s nothing I can do at that point in time. The ideal time to think about how far behind I am is when I sit down to watch an episode of TV on Netflix (remember, I don’t have cable anymore).
So what did I do? I got every book that I was supposed to read that month – including the ones I was behind on – and made a big stack right beside by couch. Now every time I sit down, I have this stack of books staring me in the face – and it has worked. I have begun catching up on my reading, simply just to clear up some table space if nothing else.
Not effective enough? Go one step further – lay the unread books across your couch so that you can’t sit and watch TV until you are caught up (or ahead of schedule).
It was a great lesson for me. Setting goals is half the battle – figuring out a way to keep yourself on top of them, and keeping them top of mind at the appropriate time is the other half. We are all busy. We are all sometimes lazy. We all procrastinate. We are all weak at times. The difference between those who do and those who don’t are the ones that find creative ways to remind themselves of the things to be done – who make goals, then find ways to continually keep them top of mind until they are done. Hopefully, with a little creativity – that subset of people will include you.