GOAL Setting Vis-à-vis New Year Resolutions: A Practical Guide - Part I

(This is a guest post from a mentor and good friend of mine, Andrew Muhimbise. If you find it helpful, share with a friend and for any queries contact him through email on the address muantus@gmail.com or Facebook; www.facebook.com/muhimbise.andrew)

It pays to plan ahead; it was not raining when Noah built the ark. As the New Year begins we all have dreams and ambitions that we would like to accomplish in the current year. Gladly we can achieve them by doing what Noah did - PLAN. Planning is bringing the future to the present so that we can start to do something about it now.

Dreaming is wonderful, goal setting is crucial but ACTION is supreme. All of us have dreams we would like to achieve like; get a better paying job of one million shillings plus a month, lose fifteen kilograms of weight, purchase a plot of land worth three million shillings, save one hundred thousand shillings per month, travel to a new place, learn a music instrument among others; and this dreaming and aspiration is a valid natural given; today we look at goal setting which puts us on an ACTION path so we achieve those dreams that have eluded us in the previous years.

Creating a Road Map for the year ahead and beyond is not an event; it’s a process of disciplined effort that takes deliberate incremental action steps towards our dreams executed over a consistent period of time.

Setting goals
Goal Setting is making a Plan of action based on what matters to you. Ironically the most important benefit of goal setting isn’t achieving your goals but what you do (effort) and the person you become in pursuing them; either way you set up yourself on a lifelong journey of continuous improvement opening you up to a whole new understanding of self and by consequence self-mastery, an empowering disciplined control of self that takes responsibility without looking outside to apportion needless blame (kwekwasa).

Life is designed in such a way that we look long-term but our everyday life is short-term; we dream for the future and live in the present. The present can produce many difficult challenges and we need powerful long-range goals to help us get past those short-term challenges. Fortunately the more powerful our goals are, the more we will be able to act on and guarantee that they will actually come to pass.

Goal setting is important because it provides clarity and focus. It shapes our dreams giving us the ability to get to the exact actions we need to perform to achieve anything and everything that we desire in life.

Goals are great because they cause us to stretch and grow in ways that we never have before. In order to reach our goals, we must become better. There is a phrase in Latin: Verba Volant-Scripta Manent the English translation is; spoken words fly away- written words remain; If you do not want your goals to fly away put them in writing, period.

In writing our goals to be practical there are three cyclic stages of: Starting Out, Deciding on your goals and Support & Reward ensure effective and efficient attainment of goal, let’s get started now:
Starting Out
The only way we can decide what we want in the future and how we’ll get there is to know where we are right now and what our current level of satisfaction is.

To begin with ask yourself two questions and come up with five to twenty answers to each:
-          High Moments: What went well in the previous year?
-          Low Moments: What did not go well in the previous year?

These two questions have to be answered earnestly and your answers should only be for those events that you have control over, if at all something did not go well that you couldn’t prevent or control, it doesn’t need to go on the list. The list of what went well could entail: lost Seven kilograms of weight, saved a hundred thousand shillings per month, travelled to Moroto and learnt the basic of playing a guitar. The list of what did not go well could entail: Failed to secure a plot of land and did not get a better paying job.

It is important to complete this list before doing any planning; we tend to overestimate what we can do in an average day but underestimate what we can be done over the course of the year.
Looking at the previous year in review, you might be surprised at everything you’ve accomplished, and this year if you take this goal setting process seriously, you will be even more surprised with how much you’ve done over the year.
As the months progress in the New Year continue a regular time of evaluation and reflection, you will see just how much ground you’re gaining- and that will be exciting, go ahead scale up on your dreams and ambitions riding on the wave of this excitement let it be a journey continuous improvement.

Besides this ‘What went well’ and ‘What did not go well’ gives you priceless feedback on what the coming year actions will be based on: continue, improve or abandon. It is the baseline or foundation on which to move forward on your new year goals, by giving you a proper evaluation of your actions or inactions.
The benefit of this starting out as above is twofold. First, it gives you an objective way to look at your accomplishments in relation of the vision you have for life. Secondly, it shows you where you are so you can determine where you need to go.

Andrew Muhimbise, General Manager of the Rats Network Investments Group (RNIG), Kampala.

In the next article we look at Deciding on your goals and in the final article we look at Building a support group and rewards.


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