The What of Goal Setting

Last week, I suggested working backwards from the desired goal as a planning tool. I mentioned that when you work backwards from the finish line in your planning, you are likely to see new information about steps you need to take or differences in the amount of time that you originally thought you needed to complete your goal. In keeping with that thought, while we’re planning the steps for HOW to achieve this goal, we have to consider WHAT we need in order to successfully complete it.  The WHAT doesn’t refer only to things.  It can also relate to people or skill sets and what’s necessary to secure those resources.

For example, let’s say that you have a goal to achieve a formal certification in project management.  You may determine that you need additional information on risk management in order to pass the certification exam.  You might determine that only a class in risk management will provide sufficient knowledge.  In that case, the resource you need is a greater knowledge of risk management.  Now you need to decide how best to receive that additional knowledge.  Will it be a night class over 6 weeks?  Will you do an online course at your own pace?  Do you prefer a traditional classroom with real time interaction between students and professor?  How much will you be able to spend on acquiring this knowledge? Will you need to acquire financial aid if you take a college class?  If you take a traditional class that’s conducted at night, will you need childcare on those evenings?  Who will provide that? How much will that childcare cost?  Are there other options for gaining this desired knowledge?

At first glance, this can seem overwhelming. It may seem that if you pull one string (question) it will unravel the whole ball of yarn.  In essence, you do want it to unravel.  You need to examine this process piece by piece in order to plan accordingly. Too often, people fall victim to their own lack of thorough planning when it comes to their goals.  If you don’t think through WHAT you need before you begin, you most likely will reach a point during your journey where you have to stop and do it at a later time.  For example, it may be that you need another person who’s a resource to help you out.  If you neglect to secure him during the planning, now you may have to wait until he can work you into his schedule to help you with this piece of your journey.  If that happens, you can end up postponing action towards your goal.

If you do have to stop your journey due to poor initial planning, it’s even tougher for you to get going again once the resource has finally been secured.  People tend to lose momentum and become frustrated when they have to do planning like that in the heat of battle.  You need your strategy and your ammunition before you enter the battle field. You need to bring all the artillery you need in order to win with you when you show up for the battle.  The best way to do that is to think through all the things you need for survival before you even begin the journey.

Next Week:  The Which of Goal Setting