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This is a Rant.

Most goal-setting advice tends to focus on the setting of 1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year goal plans. Best Year Yet and YB12 go for a 1-year plan as their core idea while business-related goal-setting advice tends to go to the max. In general, all goal-setting programmes promote the setting of a long-term goal supported by medium- and short-term ‘goalettes’ that result in the longer-term goal being achieved bit by bit.

There is nothing wrong with any goals programme I have ever seen, in that regard.

What I DO find difficult is this: life has a tendency to bu66er up those plans. I think that there are two reasons for that.

Of late, I have committed to the provision of various services – speaking club, professional Institute, driver mentoring. Those services are over and above my proper job, which takes up three days a week. Those additional services take up half-days at a time of what’s left – and that’s just execution and exclusive of any preparation time.

To a large extent, ‘D: None of the above’ is the answer I would give to the question ‘Which of the following represents action taken in pursuit of your personal goals?’ The time I spend on planning and executing those activities impacts on any time I have available to focus on new ‘stuff’.

The obvious response will be that I should stop doing them and focus on my own objectives, but that is too easy an answer. The reason for my ‘future failure’ is plain, though: Those commitments represent my success with earlier goals and compliance with my values/unifying principles. In other words, my inability to be goals-focused now is a direct result of my success in the past. It’s my own damn fault!

How annoying is that?

But another thing about setting 1-year (etc.) goals is the fact that goal achievement is a rolling programme, not something ‘done’ by year end while no new goals are set, no new roles and responsibilities are discovered, and nothing happens to stop you.

Life gets in the way, and a completed goal almost automatically results in the creation of a new one that crosses that ‘1-year’ deadline date, which in turn establishes a new start-date for that goal while the others still rely on their own start-date. We don’t goal-achieve Jan 1st to Dec 31st and then start again. School years, the financial year, the Resolutions year, our new job, sports and social seasons – they start their ‘year’ all over the place, so the rationale for specific goals set in the currency of ‘years’ is flawed.

To paraphrase Orwell : Deadline dates Good – units of time Bad.

The answer? I suppose it is to stop thinking in terms of the year as a unit of time within which to achieve things. If we consider Parkinson’s Law (which states “Work expands to fit the time available for its completion”), then it is self-defeating to spend a year doing something which could be done in 4 months if we just worked better.

Abandon ‘year-long goal setting’ and  work more effectively. But be aware that in accordance with the philosophy in my book The Three Resolutions , any completed goal – particularly a professional goal – will result in new, welcome and occasionally unwelcome impositions on your time.

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