Were My 2011 Goals TOO Attainable?


During the holidays I was at a cocktail party chatting with some friends. I was ruminating and somewhat gloating about how I achieved all my goals. There I was standing tall and feeling quite proud of my accomplishments. During the course of the year I successfully navigated the transition from corporate employee to entrepreneur. With perseverance and hard work, I launched a coaching program for past employer where I now serve as an outside consultant as well as building my own coaching practice. I was involved in two significant not-for-profit initiatives and successfully sold our family home of 56 years (in a Detroit suburb, no less).

So, there I was sporting a broad boastful smile when I was greeted with “well, maybe you didn’t set you goals high enough”. I nearly passed out. What. I didn’t set my goals high enough. Are you kidding me? And they weren’t. They were serious. Not malicious or condescending. Just serious. And I was tongue tied. Then I went into full coach mode, explaining why these goal achievements were significant and worthy of a little bragging. To my surprise, I didn’t recoil. I wasn’t going to let someone else rain on my goal parade. I achieved them and I was going continue to stand tall in my accomplishments.

But it did make me stop to wonder. How do we set our goals? How much do we push for the unattainable? For me, historically, I would under-promise and over-deliver. But could I have over-delivered even more. I decided to chill out and take a different perspective about goal setting and achievement. I don’t always hit every goal on time or in the way I had intended. I had wanted to start my own business a year earlier. In retrospect, I’m glad I waited because patience proved to be my greatest ally. In recent years, I’ve become more vigilant in setting goals and realize their importance. I also recognize you have to stretch yourself. For 2012 I will push the limits to see the potential upside. In the meantime, I’m still enjoying the satisfaction of a job well done in 2011.

To get you started on your goal setting for 2012, here are some quick tips.

  • Set goals against various time frames short (0-3 months), medium (3-9 months) and long (9-12 months)
  • Write them down and be specific. The more specific they are, the easier it is to take action on them
  • They all don’t have to be serious, make sure you have some fun ones. Life is meant to be enjoyed
  • Put the list in a visible place and cross them off once completed. And take the time to celebrate each accomplishment

I can’t wait to hear all that you’ve accomplished in 2012.