It is well documented that New Year’s resolutions almost never work to bring lasting change. But what kind of goal setting does work? This week I worked my way through Michael Hyatt’s mini-course on how to set and reach goals successfully. I watched the tapes, did the homework and committed myself to following through with the course recommendations. This course is unlikely to work for everybody since it was designed for “busy, high-achievers.” Time will tell if the course lives up to the advertising hype that accompanies most of what Hyatt produces.
Titled “Five Days to You Best Year Ever,” the course recommends five steps to goal-setting effectiveness:
- Believe it can be done. Probably a lot of goals never get reached because deep inside we expect to fail, sometimes because we’ve tried before and not succeeded. Hyatt calls these “limiting beliefs” such as “I’m too old,” “I can’t do this,” or “I have no idea where to start.”
- Re-evaluate the past. Look over where you failed to reach previous goals. What have you learned from this?” What can you do differently this time?” Remember that you can’t keep doing the same things in the same way and expect different results.
- Set new goals. Force yourself to make them the SMART goals that coaches recommend: Specific, Measurable (so you know when you succeed), Actionable (that means what you will do, not what you hope to become), Realistic, and Time-bound (which means having a deadline). Hyatt adds two more: Exciting, by which he means personally compelling, and Relevant.
- Determine why each goal is worth achieving. Lose sight of this and you will quit more easily.
- Start moving. At some time the planning needs to stop and we need to take at least one action step towards making each goal happen.
All of this useful, practical advice but it assumes that reaching goals is within our control. It bypasses how unexpected life events can hinder even our best goal-oriented activities. Doesn’t God have a place in our goal-setting? At one point Hyatt mentions Jesus, then quickly makes a point that this is not a Bible study. Admittedly this course is geared to secular audiences and that shapes the content. Better perspective: the new year is a good time to plan ahead so long as we remember who ultimately is in control. Any comments?