Personal Goal setting for the new year- Aim, Load and Fire
Personal Goal setting at times for most of us is exclusively reviewed just before New Year’s Day. The goal-setting process allows you to project forward and know what you’re running to capture. However, if you were to look at the previous year’s goals, what would be your success rate. To do this, add up the number of goals that you set at the beginning of the year and do the following: achieved goals (T) divided by the target goals times (A) x 100 = success rate. The purpose of the calculation is, to be honest with yourself and know how to improve for the next year. The calculation should hopefully show you how you have performed over the year against your personal goals. Please refer to end of this post to see how I performed in 2020.
My New Year’s Eve tends to involve thanksgiving to God for the year that passed, prayer and then putting my aims into writing.
I coined a phrase which says “you cannot execute if you cannot aim”. The phrase not only expresses my interest in action films but also shows that you have to aim to hit a target. Whether you hit your targets, that is another issue entirely.
I have found that a wonky aim can set you down an undesirable path, leaving you expending valued energy to get back to your starting position. Aim straight and be very specific on the outcomes you expect. You have to lock eyes on your target like predictor locking eyes on its prey. I hate to say it, but you have to be obsessed (in a healthy way) with meeting your goals.
In 2019, my goals were to get Chartered, get a promotion (internally or externally), pay down my debts, go on my first family holiday, read one book a month, restart my development consultancy business and get new flooring in every part of my house. I established my aims, but the challenging part was loading to hit my targets.
It is now January the first, and your goals are cast in paper, what happens next. If you are a dreamer like me, you would have mapped out how to achieve these goals. I term this the loading stage.
Loading is key to achieving your goals; it takes the necessary steps to get you towards smashing your targets. The reality is that with time, some of these goals become unimportant. That’s fine in my opinion, things change, but you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself whether you are lazy or whether you were unrealistic in setting that specific goal in the first place.
Loading on my goals looked like this.
Becoming a qualified surveyor, I needed to read, study and engross myself in planning and development. I worked, studied every day until my final interview whilst having a full-time job, wife and child. My aim was my aim, and the stress in between didn’t matter to me.
Reading- I needed to identify topics that were of interest to me and purchase the books
Paying down my debts was merely a question of discipline, I needed to keep one foot ahead of the other, and that was it. I made an extra £1,000 payment a month to pay down my debts, and that was that.
Getting the new flooring was an aim that I would do away with as I was more interested in other things, but it was still on my list nonetheless.
On the much-awaited holiday, we set things in motion to holiday to Nigeria thanks to my 2019 bonus and savings with my wife. The money was there, but I was reluctant to press the button for some reason.
On the promotion front, I need to work hard or apply for other roles to achieve this aim.
All of the above was in motion from January the first 2020, and I persistently kept my eyes on the goals. I installed a stick-on whiteboard and looked at these goals every day. It was etched in my mind daily.
When you calculate the cost of action, this loading stage anticipates the risks and charges yourself mentally to go for it. In a predator/prey sense, this is the quiet before the storm, the moment before the perilous chase.
The firing stage is when you press the button to destroy the targets you set for yourself. It is the stage when you are fully loaded with the information, scenarios, morale and the audacity to make what you want to happen. For me, this part is more straightforward because aiming and loading are where the heavy lifting takes place. Executing the plan is a motor response to the two earlier stages.
The firing stage from a hunters point of view is when you explode towards your goals. You are actively engaged on your target, and you are either going to win or lose in your pursuit.
The firing stage, based on my 2020 goals, played out like this:
Becoming a qualified surveyor- I worked tirelessly, scheduled many mock interviews and read a copious amount of professional publications. The interview happened, and seven days later, I got the news. I was now a Qualified Planning and development surveyor.
Reading- where I didn’t read a book a month, I read a lot during my APC preparations. I didn’t achieve this aim. When I said reading one book a month, I didn’t mean studying. So I failed on this objective and will move it onto the next year.
Paying down debts- I was consistent in pay down my debts and was able to demolish one of my loans. I have one more debt to go. Paying down my debt was a big win for my family and me. We still have more to go.
Holiday- my reluctance to book my flight to Nigeria in February turned out to be what would become a global pandemic. An example of the importance of listening to your instincts. I was ready to book my flight then everywhere in the world shut down. It was a win because I was ready to go, but I define this as a legal term called forced Majeure. My family even tried to book a hotel stay for Christmas, but again this was cancelled due to pandemic.
Flooring- we were able to sort out all the flooring in our house due to the savings we made from not going on holiday and pulling our daughter out of nursery due to COVID-19. As this was a secondary goal that I wanted to happen between 2020-2022, it happened in 2020, which was great.
Promotion- the pandemic got me nervous about my ability to provide for my family, so I decided through the career coaching of Solomon consultancy to try my luck to find a new job. I successfully found a new job and moved from Development Manager to Senior Development Manager within a great new firm.
I achieved most of the goals that I set myself, due to my daily reminders of these goals by writing it on a board and making myself accountable to my family and friends.
Going back to my hunting captions, this is the moment when the prize has been captured.
Remember to aim, load and fire. That’s how I tend to manage my goals and hope you find it helpful to do the same.
Please see my below strike rate calculation, please do the same:
Total goals (T): 6 goals in total
Achieved gates (A): 5 goals in total
(A/T) x 100 = Strike Rate
4/5 x 100 (Holiday goal discounted due to COVID-19)
Strike Rate: 80%
My strike rate was 80%, but the percentage doesn’t matter. What matters is having something to work towards however small. I guess the challenge is setting yourself more difficult goals.
Achieving your goals can lead to happiness which may enable you to tackle more incredible feats. Be realistic from the onset and stay focused.
Finally, if you aim small, you achieve small; whereas, you may achieve big if you aim big. I have found that if you set your sights on the insurmountable and follow my aim, load and fire process, I am confident that you achieve your goals. What I am saying is aim high, work hard and fire when the opportunity comes.
A happy new year to you and I hope you and your families have a prosperous one. Remember to aim higher