Sometimes the best laid plans get derailed, which is exactly what happened to me last week. I had a epiphany that completely changed the outcome of the Ultimate Personal Success Plan. It took me a week to figure out exactly what I was going to do, but the result of this blast of revelation makes the Ultimate Annual Personal Success Plan so much more powerful. So for a week posts were not published and I have been pretty silent as I developed this plan, more on this later…
So let’s get back on track now you should have a bunch of notes and thoughts from the previous three posts.
- You should have all your focus areas defined and narrowed down to 5 to 7 important areas. My focus areas for the coming year are: Family, Spirituality, Health, Professional Growth, Writing, & Renewal.
- You should have a document of your hopes and dreams and thoughts for high-level goals for 2013.
We are going to use that information to narrow down and define the path for the next year. There are three things that we will focus on next. They are the Annual Goals, the Focus Area Goals, and the Annual Vision. Let me explain these.
The Annual Goals
Last year I did not have top annual goals, I only had the vision and the focus area goals. The fallacy I found is that the vision did not really define an absolute and definite ending in mind. It had an end in mind but it was somewhat subjective. My focus area goals were measurable and very well defined, yet the vision left room for argument. I still think the vision is very important, we’ll talk about that in a moment. This year I have added annual goals to the line-up. In order to keep myself focused I chose to not have more than 3 annual goals. These will not be easy goals, but I wanted to focus so precisely that it would make me keep those goals front and center. After the last post you might consider this a bit contradictory with what I said about the focus areas, but in reality the focus areas should help in defining your annual goals.
These three goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. In other words they should be a S.M.A.R.T goals. My annual goals for this year are personal, but they go into three areas of my life: family, financial and professional. They reinforce my focus areas and will help to bring greater purpose to them.
So your homework is to define 1 to 3 top annual goals for the next year.
The Focus Area Goals
Last year I had 8 focus areas and between 2 and 5 goals per focus area and it was just way too much. I felt very unbalanced and overwhelmed. Sure I got a lot done, but the sacrifices were too much. So this year I simplified it even more. I limited myself to only 5 focus areas, I suggest you do the same. This was not easy to do, because it meant sacrificing something for the success of something else. Not only did I narrow the number of focus areas, but I also limited the number of goals per focus areas to a maximum of 3 per area. In some cases this was even harder. These goals should be definite and measurable, so you know when they have been achieved.
***Warning! I want to make you aware of one thing that I find difficult and many people I have worked with also find difficult. When writing your annual goals and focus area goals, be very careful about goals that span the entire year. For example instead of saying “I will exercise 5 days a week for 20 minutes,” perhaps think about changing the goal to: “I will exercise for 100 minutes a week.” I am all about setting up positive habits, but life comes in ups and downs and I have seen too many people give-up on their goals, when they have a little failure on these habit type of goals.
So your homework will be to define the 1 to 3 focus area goals for each of your focus areas.
The Annual Vision
The annual vision should be written in past tense as if it already had occurred. The annual vision is not so much a goal, as it is a place where you will end up at the end of the year. It might describe the person you became, the accomplishments you achieved, or even the way you feel after the successful year you have experienced. It encompasses, at least in part, your focus areas and your annual goals, but it is not a repeat of them. Like the other thing I have laid out, this also needs to be focused. I suggest keeping it to 3 sentences or shorter.
For example, my vision for 2013 is as follows, “This was the most successful year I have ever had. I grew closer to my family, and became a better husband and father. I achieved the most financial success I have ever had in my life and established myself as THE execution expert for organizations. My health and spirituality have increased exponentially, making me a better person both inside and out.”
If you look at these three areas you can see that they are creating alignment from top to bottom. That is a critical aspect of this plan and will help to make your goal achievement more powerful and focused.
For your homework, develop your own 2013 personal vision.
Summary & Things to Come
These three things will take a bit of a different role this year, but you have to have these three things established before you can move onto the other areas. I am really excited to share with you the epiphany I had this last week. It includes a whole new mechanism to track and accomplish your goals. I actually had to hire a programmer to make this functionality. I showed this to someone that is highly successful and has succeeded a lot in their life and their response was, “WOW, when can I get it!“