7 Categories to Help Guide Your 2016 Goals

Results follow clarity, and clarity comes from clear definition. Writing is the best way to clearly define your thoughts (one of the reasons you should start a blog!).

Here are my goal categories, in order of long-term priority. Explicitly defining these categories has helped me during my goal planning process to identify which categories needs the most attention this upcoming year, and ensure that my goals align against these categories:

Spiritual Marriage Health Intellectual Financial Work Relationships

This ordering doesn’t mean that work won’t come before my intellectual life (i.e. reading, conferences, learning, etc). It does mean, for me, over the long-term I need to ensure that my intellectual life is made a priority over work success.

Although simple, the exercise of defining and prioritizing the different categories of your life, is incredible important.

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2015 Goals Retrospective

I’ve been making intentional yearly goals using Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever program for the last couple years. The simple workbook that Michael provides is effective in reviewing the past year, and defining goals for the upcoming year.

A "retrospective" is a process common in Agile Software Development, but I’ve started applying it my personal life planning lately. I made a lot of progress on key goals this past year, but still made a lot of mistakes; below is a retrospective on my 2015 goals.

Here’s what worked:

Getting clear on my goals, and the reasons (or motivation) behind those goals. Adjusting my actions and strategies to align against my goals.

Here’s what didn’t work:

I didn’t track my progress against my goals in a consistent and disciplined way. Although my goals were trackable (a key element of a successful goal!) I didn’t track against the metrics embedded in the goal. I didn’t adjust my actions and strategy, even though it was clear that my original strategy wasn’t bringing me towards my goals fast enough–and in some cases–was just the plain wrong strategy. I didn’t have a process in place to remove goals that weren’t right anymore. A goal that makes sense at the beginning of the year may not make sense mid-way through the year, and that’s ok.

My plan is to fix what went wrong with two simple tweaks:

I’m setting up a monthly recurring task in my task management application (todoist) to review progress on goals in a simple google spreadsheet. I’ve blocked off a day each quarter for a "quarterly checkin" to ensure that 1) all my goals are still the right goal and 2) the strategy and actions aligned against each goals are correct.

I’m thrilled to jump into 2016 with all I’ve got. I’m excited about these changes to my goal planning process; I’ll report back next year to see if it worked!

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