How to Create Goals for 2012

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Time to create all the goals I’m going to endeavor to accomplish in 2012.  For me, the goal making process is highly involved.  It goes something like this.

Step 1 - Create a list of goal categories.

My categories change only slightly each year but they are basically

  1. Health
  2. Money
  3. Relationships
  4. Personal Development
  5. Impact on the World

These came from my personal manifesto that I wrote some years ago.  Essentially, it is a road map for the things that I think are important in life and what is going to make me happy.

Step 2 - Brainstorm goals for the year

I like to use a piece of free software called FreeMind.  It is a simple mind mapping program that lets you create categories and connect things.  I’ll often write a mind map on paper but the computer program is useful too.  You can see my 2012 mind map here.  I pretty much put down any idea that occurs to me under those areas.  When I get to the next step I pare down the list a bit but during the brainstorm phase, anything can happen.

Ideally, you’ll create goals that have numbers associated with them.  For example, I have a joggling mileage goal (1500 miles) and I have a weight goal (180 lbs).  Goals that don’t have a number associated with them (e.g. Build a better brain) are much tougher to complete because you won’t have a way to determine whether or not you were successful.  For goals like this, I try to re-write and quantify them during the planning stage.

Step 3 - Make your plans

Here is the key to accomplishing these goals.  At the brainstorm phase things are just wishes.  To actually accomplish something you have to create a plan.  If you’re like me you’ll soon find that there isn’t enough time to do everything and you’ll start cutting things out.  Of course, I have a hard time cutting things out so many of my goals go unfulfilled.  I never mind this much because I accomplish enough to keep myself satisfied.

Some goals, the plans write themselves.  For instance, I have a goal to “write a blog post every day”.  My plan is simple…write something new every day.  For goals that have a number attached to them, I can split them up during the year and schedule when to work on them.  For example, I want to “Draw 12 pictures”.  So, I schedule a day on my Google Calendar that sends me a reminder to draw a picture.  I only have moderate success here because I often am too distracted with other things that I don’t spend time on the goal.  This year, I’m going to be better.  I will not so easily ignore those things.

Step 4 - Track your progress

For me, this is the key.  You’ve figured out some goals, made some plans, but if you don’t keep track of your progress you’ll have a much tougher time staying motivated to succeed.  I use a spreadsheet to keep track of my goals and have done so since 2003.  It’s really cool to be able to look back at my years and remember things that I’ve done.  This does require me to look at the spreadsheet every day but I don’t much mind that.  I’m at the computer every day anyway.  You can see a version of my goal spreadsheet here.  This isn’t my complete list but these are the key things that I keep track of and are the ones that are most likely to be accomplished.

Cosmetic Science goals

This year my primary goals related to cosmetic chemistry are about growing this website and providing more information to help cosmetic chemists learn more and do their jobs better.  To this end a few specific goals.

  1. Write a blog post every day
  2. Launch the “How to Start Your Own Cosmetic Line” program
  3. Record 26 podcast episodes
  4. Create a series of basic chemistry videos (30)
  5. Begin an open source formulation site
  6. Run for SCC VP elect
  7. Grow the website traffic & social networking followers
It’s unlikely I’ll get to all of these but hopefully I’ll get some of them done.

What are your goals this year?  How do you go about setting them?  And how successful are you?  Leave a comment below.

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