Goals and Goal Setting?

Goal setting is very important no matter if you are talking about your education; work, exercise, life or whatever is ahead of you. Many years ago, in 1993 when I was stationed at Fort Knox with the 194th Separate Armor Brigade, we got a new Battalion Command Sergeant Major (CSM). For those of you with no or little military experience, this is the senior Non-Commission Officer in the battalion of about 1000 soldiers. He told us if you want to be a proper leader or successful in what you do, you need to build goals for yourself and assist the one you lead in building goals. At the time, being a fairly new leader in the Army myself, I thought this was just a crazy pitch by the new leadership to make his mark in command. I soon realized that by sitting down and setting my goals and putting them on paper, I had more success in completing my goals. Needless to say this CSM went on to be the Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA); this is the senior Non-Commission Officer of the Army (impressive wouldn’t you say).

The CSM gave all the leaders of the battalion this speech along with training to build goals to lead ourselves and our soldiers to be able to accomplish the goals we set. This was the plan that worked for him and I soon learned how to do goal setting. It made a big difference in my life and changed how I went about doing things. I went on to use this in my next duty assignments in the maintenance field, recruiting command, coaching youth at the YMCA and when talking to people about what they want in life.

It is actually an easy process to make the list and print it. The hard part is the follow through; the second half of the goal setting process is to list ways to accomplish the goals. The idea is to break down your goals into three categories: 1. Near term goals are goals that you want to accomplish in 6-12 months. 2. Mid-term goals are goals that you want to accomplish in 2-5 years. 3. Long term goals are goals that you plan on or want to accomplish in 5-10 years. These are all goal on the left side of the paper in their own blocks, the near term goals should support your mid-term goals and mid-term goals should support your long term goals.

On other side of the paper there will be three blocks as well. They will be basically the same as the goals but they are the how to accomplish items. Every goal can have 3-5 ways to accomplish this goal. And sometimes the how to accomplish item will fall under more than one goal. As with the goals, they should be supportive in the same way: near term how to accomplish should support or be the same as mid-term how to accomplish and so on.

I know that this sounds hard but it is actually the easy part. The next step will be the easiest of all the steps. This step is to print it and hang it or put it where you will see it first thing in the morning and many times during the day. Most of the time we put goals and how to accomplish goals in our head or write them down and put them in a drawer somewhere and do not see them again for years, if ever. The idea here is to see the list and have to acknowledge your goals everyday multiple times each day. If you see the goals every day, you are more likely to accomplish them.

This is where the hard step begins. At the first of every month sit-down with someone (spouse, coach, friend or someone that will hold you accountable) and go over the goals and how to accomplish them one by one. Yes, you will have to be accountable and go over why or why not the goal did or did not get accomplished or where you are with accomplishing the goal. It is hard to not accomplish a goal if you have to answer for it monthly.

The other thing you will be required to do as time goes on is make new goals or adjust current goals. You may find out, as we have with the youth swim team, that your initial goals were not high or challenging enough. You may find out that you can accomplish far more than you ever thought you could when you are held accountable for each of your life goals.

I will attach a photo of what goal sheet actually looks like.

I am, as always open to comments, suggestions, or ways to improve on this. Please post it on my blog or Facebook page or group. Thanks.

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