January 2023: A new year. A new beginning, new hope, and perhaps new resolutions. Unlike many people, I do not set New Year’s resolutions. I talked to many people that set resolutions, such as: to go to the gym, exercise, and lose weight. Most of these resolutions, unfortunately, will not last into February. Why? And how could we set successful resolutions? Modern Management skills will help us achieve our goals.
What Are Goals?
Resolutions, including New Year Resolutions, are goals. Note that the word Goal has other names, such as Resolution or Objective. To avoid confusion, we will stick with the word Goal.
So, what are Goals? Are they something that we write in our journals or a piece of 3×5 card, and stick to the refrigerator? No. Those are wishes or reminders at the most. More importantly, wishes or reminders do not magically become true.
Let’s step away from individual goals and move to a large collective body, a city for example. Do they set goals? And where/what are they? I can guarantee you that you will not find your city goals written on a 3×5 card and posted on the refrigerator of the Rec Room in the City Hall. It is published, though: in the city’s budget, you will find exactly how much effort they plan on spending on road repairs, trash collection, planning efforts, police services…everything that a city wants to accomplish within a fiscal year. If something is not listed in the city budget, that city does not intend to do it. Or, it will be included in a special budget amendment, to find new resources for that new something.
In everyday terms, goals are wishes matched with resources. In other words, if you want to do something and it will cost you, you need to be willing to pay for it. Economists call this expending the necessary capital to accomplish the predetermined goals.
Goals and the Family of Goals
For clarification purposes, the family of Goals consists of Vision, Mission, Goal, and Task. Today, I can only discuss Goal and Task.
So, once you have set your goals, the next thing to do is to determine how you are going to get there. Let us assume that your goal is to be more physically active by playing tennis and participating in a tournament. You played some tennis in high school, and you want to get back into it.
The goal would be: Play Tennis and Participate in a Tournament. What are the resources that you have? First, money for supplies. You need to buy two tennis racquets, new shoes, a tennis bag, workout clothes, etc. The estimated cost is $900. It’s not cheap, but you are willing to invest in it.
Second, money for lessons. You call around and find several qualified tennis pros. You will want to take weekly lessons for four months. You budget $800 for it.
Third, time. Yes, time is a resource. So, playing time on Saturday; lessons during the week; and time to meet other players.
Fourth, human and mental resources. To be successful, you will want to meet other players for practices, moral support, or simply a friend whom you can chat with. To invest in this, you will have to join a club or the City Parks Department tennis recreation program.
With all these written down, your goal is ready. You know what you want to do. You also know what it takes. You are ready to do it!
Goals can be either specific or general. In either case, goals need to be broken down into smaller actionable tasks. In the example above, the tasks are well laid out. Figuring these tasks out and doing them is a significant step. For example, the first task would be to procure tennis gear. Going out shopping for them represents a commitment to the goal, as well as a milestone that you can look back on and examine your overall progress.
Writing it Down
I mentioned earlier the idea of posting your goals on a 3×5 card and pinning it on the fridge. I am not against writing down your goals. It is up to you. The key is to have a plan, follow it, and execute it. Once you have this formula in mind, you cannot fail. You can do anything you set out to do.
How Many Goals
Years ago, I had a companion who was big on setting goals. Typically, he set three to four goals per week. At the time, it was a bit much for me, so I set one or two goals per week…learning from him. I am older now. I learned that I can set as many goals as I want, provided that I can find resources for them. The key to knowing how many goals you can set depends entirely on how many resources you have: financial resources, time resources, and mental resources. I do not want to ignore that last point. Some goals will require a great deal of mental effort. Knowing where you are mentally is a very important ingredient. In a sit-down session with yourself, you can determine how much you are willing to invest in your goals. With careful planning, you can achieve your goals. The goals will lead to a better and happier you. Happy New Year!