The power of having goals is a rather universal concept. The satisfaction accompanying the accomplishment of a stretch goal is uniquely fulfilling. And a continual striving towards new heights can fill our lives with passion and purpose.
I am a firm believer in establishing goals across several fronts. I find this approach similar to the business practice of using a balanced scorecard to gauge operational performance, thereby ensuring activities often at odds, cost containment and superior customer service for example, are each evaluated within an appropriate context. I name my approach after a 1998 Tom Wolfe novel, a Man in Full – simply because I like the imagery evoked by the title.
I establish goals unique to 8 facets of my life – Spiritual, Financial, Career, Personal Development, Physical, Family, Social, and Household.
By defining and managing to such a diverse cross section of goals I force myself to make deposits of success in each area that defines my being. I may not scale the Everest within each category every day or even every year, but I do hold myself accountable to at least establish and advance base camps within each category.
Secondly I overlay time horizons across each category. I then document and dissect my categorized goals along 5 unique timelines – “Completion”, 5 years, 1 year, 1 month, 1 day.
Allow me to define each timeframe. It is not as difficult as it sounds.
Man in Full – This category is for characterizing total success – living the dream – in a given area. For example, “large paid for home with $2mil invested and throwing off more than enough annual revenue to cover all living and travel expenses” might reflect ‘arrival’ in my mind’s eye circa 2009.
5 Year Goals – In this timeframe I define a stretch target aligned with the dream scenario. For example, “mortgage under $50k and $250k in retirement savings”.
1 Year Goals – In this timeframe I define the step towards the larger goal that I plan to achieve over the next 12 months. For example, “free of all non-mortgage debt in this 12 month period”.
1 Month Goals – In this breakout, I define the interim steps carrying me towards the in-Year Goal that I plan to take during each month throughout the year. For example, “payoff Visa in March, payoff Car in August, payoff Student Loan in December”. By completing each of these steps, I will have accomplished my larger goal for the year. This step also forces me to rationalize my 1 Year Goals. Paying off only $2000 is much too small an undertaking whereas wiping out $50,000 may not be feasible even under the best of circumstances.
Today – I call this my “what can I do today” category. Here I list activities that I can undertake today that allow me to take steps towards the larger goals. For example, “today I can take my lunch to work rather than eat out or I can resist an impulse purchase at the market”.
I will elaborate on this schedule for each category by way of specific examples in the subsequent articles in this series. However the idea is to establish a pattern of behavior that propels us towards our defined vision of success. And is not well rounded success personified the perfect analogy for a Man in Full?
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Related Articles I enjoyed:
Happy New Year
The Power of Gradual
Balance: The New Way to Make and Keep Your New Year Resolutions
How to Avoid Setting Goals that are Doomed from the Start