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How to Document Your Goals

Dave Keil

How to Document Your Goals

Goals in your head are intentions, they only become a goal when documented, tangible and shared with others.

Goals work well when documented, and best when shared with others.  

Every September, as the new school year was beginning, our family gathered at the kitchen table for a formal meeting – with an agenda, a scribe, and the children complaining.  The purpose? –setting goals for the year for my wife and me, as well as for our three kids. Yes, it’s dorky, but was very effective, and simple to implement. One son, who started setting goals in first grade (making new friends, staying on task) wrote his first book at 25 and ran a marathon, after setting those goals, and reminding himself daily.  

Each time I start a new role in the workplace, I write down a set of 90 day goals, and share them with my team. I set goals in categories – organization, communication, personal learning, partner and vendor relationships, financial, etc. These are organized in rows,with specific progress goals in each of three columns, one for each month. This has been helpful in each new role I have undertaken, allows for a fast and complete start, and I have seen it cascade through the organization, ensuring alignment top to bottom in the organization.  I leave these 90 day goals and milestones on my desk, as a reminder to organize my days and hours aligned to achieve these goals.

The simple tenets we used as a family, while setting goals:

1)     Looking ahead to envision new outcomes, and imagine what the future might hold

2)     Writing them down: in a format that makes it easy to check in later

3)     3-5 Goals:balancing goals in academics, relationships, physical and faith areas of life

4)     Sharing them with others.  Goals in your head are intentions, they only become a goal when documented, tangible and shared with others.  

If your desire is to be purposeful in how you spent your time and talent, then formal goal setting, using these simple tenets, is a great place to start.