It’s winter. I know that. But, I am going to use an analogy from summer to help you to get 2020 vision on your goals for the upcoming year.

Let’s go back to July: 75-degrees, an enticing river, and a trail on the other side. To get to that trail, you need to do a little rock-hopping across the river. The water is cold, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if you slipped and dipped your foot in to gain your balance. Still, you carefully calculate whether the rocks are positioned close enough to hop from one to another all the way across the river. You play it out in your mind before you take that first step.

Your goal is specific – to get to the trail on the other side. It is measurable – either you will make it with two dry shoes or you will not. It seems actionable and realistic since the rocks are close enough to hop across. Your goal is time-bound because you want to get back before it is dark. This is an example of a SMART goal; specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. After all, a goal without a plan is just a dream.

smart goal image

It seems that some of us are goal-oriented and others find the whole process to be tedious at best, paralyzing at worst. Whichever camp you’re in, you’ll appreciate that setting goals can be life-changing and very simple.

John Doerr, founder of the OKR (objectives and key results) method of goal setting, has helped companies like Amazon, Google, and Twitter to achieve their organizational goals. It works just as well for personal goals. Legendary musician, Bono, of U2, uses this method to steer his personal mission of fighting worldwide social injustice. You can use it too.

OKR is a simple and profound way to set goals that yield results. All you need to know is what you want to do, how you’ll go about doing it, and when you’ll know if you’re doing it. You are not shooting for perfection. It’s not the worst thing if your foot slips.

Here is an example taken from Doerr himself. He had learned that having family dinners together was a key to a happy family life. He set a key result of being home for dinner by 6 p.m. at least 20 nights per month, and to be present, with no phones. For him, this was a pretty audacious goal, but it was realistic. He set benchmarks for gauging his progress but did not achieve it perfectly. When he was making it to 16 family dinners per month regularly, he felt that he had succeeded. Time to set a new goal.

Like making your way to the trail on the other side, reaching a goal is not an end, but part of the journey. That journey doesn’t amount to a life of meandering aimlessly through the woods. Setting smart, simple goals will get you to the trail and help you to stay on it.

john doerr book cover

To learn more about how to set goals, check out Doerr’s book, “Measure What Matters,” and leave a Borrower Review on the book’s catalog listing on our website. Give me a call, email, or Facebook message if you have questions about how to do that.

Get 2020 vision with clear, simple goals and see how it makes a difference in your life this year.

Marcy Timblin, Public Relations and Marketing

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