Stop for a moment and ponder this: What is it that you want from your life? Are there things you want from your work? Your relationships? Your physical and emotional well-being? Your finances? Your living environment?
Are you satisfied in all areas of your life? If not, what are you doing about it?
The questions are important because, as Jim Rohm puts it, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
To live a happy and productive life, goals are essential. Goals provide strategic focus or direction. They help us focus our attention. Any kind of positive change begins with setting clearly defined, achievable, realistic goals.
Unfortunately, in our society, we are conditioned to believe that we, alone, are responsible for achieving our personal goals. However, high achievers understand that the secret to staying on track with goals is sharing personal goals with peers who are invested in our success.
In his book Be Excellent at Anything, Tony Schwartz tells us that one of the keys to greatness is enlisting the support of others to hold us accountable.
“When you make a commitment to someone else to change a specific behavior, it creates a higher level of accountability,” he writes.
“It’s not just that most of us feel a desire to live up to our public commitments but also that others can help us see how we’re getting in our own way.”
Group Up Around Goals!
Grouping up around goals also enables us to learn from each other’s experiences. This is a reason why over 50,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs have joined organizations like Vistage and The Young President’s Organization. Peers’ stories of overcoming challenges provide information we can use in our own lives to make improvements — in our health, wealth and overall wellbeing.
So find three or four people who, like you, want to make measurable change. Begin to meet on a regular basis, like every Tuesday for breakfast, or every Thursday for lunch.
The key principles of effective goals groups are easy to remember:
- Confidentiality is at the top of the list. We need to feel that we can trust each other not to leak any kind of information outside of the group. Whether the news is good or bad, it has to stay in the group.
- Commitment to consistency is important, too. A goals group can act as a kind of magnet, so even when you feel yourself beginning to drift, the group will pull you back to center. Regular meetings help everyone solidify commitment and stay on track with their goals. In an age of constant distraction, this can mean the difference between achieving a goal — or not.
- Third, good goals groups are inherently positive. When you bring a growth mindset into a goals group, you frame every experience as an opportunity to learn and develop your capabilities. If for some reason you don’t make as much progress on a goal as you had planned, your group can help you identify what got in your way. You can then anticipate future challenge and design better strategies. With feedback from your group, you’ll discover that your strengths and abilities are not fixed, but can improve over time and with effort. You can become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
So, whether you want to improve your health, finances, relationships or career, journey together in a community of possibility. Start today. Set some good goals and create your own goals group.
Jennifer Stone, Ph.D, is the Founder of Goals Groups International. With Employee Wellness, she has led several goals groups initiatives at The UVM Medical Center.