Good managers plan for success in life as well as in business, and part of that planning should be setting personal goals and objectives that are important enough to motivate us to work hard and focus our energies.
Assess your goal-setting strength with this quiz. For each item, score yourself from 1 ("never") to 5 ("always"):
1. I can identify the most important principles that guide me in life.
2. I define my life in terms of what I can do and want to do, not what I can't or don't want to do.
3. I know there are specific strengths and qualities that I don't possess but that I see and admire in others.
4. I've defined long-term goals and short-term objectives as well as action steps that will move me toward those goals.
5. My goals are challenging ones that will take me a long time, perhaps a lifetime, to achieve.
6. I have clear and compelling reasons why I want to achieve the goals I've set for myself.
7. I try to concentrate my efforts on only a few objectives and action steps at one time and then move on to others.
8. Though I recognize good ideas and opportunities when they come along, I don't see them as requiring me to rethink my goals and objectives.
9. I can actually visualize and sense what successful achievement of a particular objective would look and feel like.
10. I set deadlines for myself by which I want to accomplish each of the short-term objectives and action steps that move me toward my goals.
What do your scores mean?
Your score should be between 10 and 50 points. The higher your score, the stronger your personal goal-setting process.
If you scored above 38 points, you are definitely on the right track, and you probably have something to teach others about personal goals.
If you scored between 20 and 37 points, you've got the right idea. Consider closely the individual items on which you scored lower; strengthening your performance in one of those areas may be just the thing that will put your personal plan into high gear.
If you scored below 20 points, you need to work on the fundamentals of personal planning. Basically, work from big to small: Start by identifying your core values, then your lifetime goals, then the major objectives you want to accomplish as milestones on your way to attaining those goals, then the individual action steps you need to take to achieve those objectives.
At each level, remember to ask why this is a personal goal. Take a good look and identify the reasons a particular goal is important to you, and ask if those reasons are still as important as they once were. The answers you find are what will ultimately motivate you to put forth the effort and practice the discipline you need to succeed.