5Ws and H
I love ushering in the new year. Really, I do. New Year=New Start. I can put all the mistakes and disappointments of the previous year behind me. Several moments are spared to rejoice over successes and to count my many blessings…but then, as with most people, my focus turns to the coming year. What can I do different? What do I want to change about me? About my life? Every year I make several lists of different kinds of resolutions…and every year, about two weeks in, those resolutions fly out the window along with my motivation. Sad, I know.
Ironically, this year one of my resolutions is going to be to keep all my resolutions. Ha ha…we’ll see if that works.
One of the oddest things about letting my resolutions fall through, is I know how to make goals, and I know what I need to do to keep them…I. Just. Don’t. But, as with the other disappointments from last year, I am putting that behind me, and letting my infectious optimism take over.
So, now I look forward to 2010, and consider what I want to accomplish, what I want to change.
In the meantime, let’s consider what a goal/resolution should look like. A goal should be three things: Realistic, Specific, and Measurable. A goal needs to be realistic for your person. While someone may be able to lose 30 pounds in three months, that doesn’t mean you are able to. You know your strengths and weaknesses, and while a goal should push you, it really shouldn’t set you up for failure.
Any goal you make should be able to be measured in some way. If we stick with the 30 pounds in three months, you can break that down by week or month (2.5 lbs/wk, 10 lbs/mo). With a goal like writing 500 words a day, you can keep a spreadsheet where you record your daily word count to keep up with your progress.
And last of all, the more specific your goal, the better idea you have of what you need to do to accomplish it. A good way to achieve this is when writing out your goals, use the 5Ws and H. You remember learning those in elementary school, right?
Who is involved in this goal? Most of the time this is you…but sometimes it could be a family goal or group goal.
What is the goal? Be specific. Lose 30 lbs? Write 500 words a day? Read from your Bible more?
When will this goal be accomplished by? Some goals take less time than others. Like I said earlier, the goal should push you, but not over the edge. Lose that weight in four months? Write so much per day, five days a week? Read every night before bed?
Where will you work on this goal? Now, this one won’t always apply. But, if you’re like me, you work best under certain conditions. I always write better when I’m at my computer desk with a soda and gummy bears. Therefore, I know that I need to set aside time every day to go to that place to get adequate work done.
Why is this goal important? What is your biggest reason for accomplishing this goal? This is important because we discover our passion for this goal. If you don’t care about it, why will it matter? Why will you give it priority?
How will you accomplish this goal? That’s right…an action plan. This is where most people fail at goal setting. We write out our goals, but then we have no clue how we are to go about pursuing them. If we sit down in the beginning and plan it out, we’ll have no excuses later on. Want to lose 30 lbs in four months? How? Are you going to work out three times a week? What kind of workout? Where? Are you going to alternate exercise routines? I’m not saying that the plan has to be complicated, or even thoroughly planned out, but you have to give yourself some sort of jumping off point.
So a goal might look something like this:
I am going to write at least 500 word/day, every day except for Sundays for a grand total of 156,500 words for the year. I am going to set aside at least two hours every night to sit at my computer desk and work on either my novel or blogs, and then record my progress on a spreadsheet I set up on my computer.
So, that’s one of my goals—now you’re turn. What is one of your goals for 2010?