I’ve started a new lunch-and-learn series, the first of which is about goal setting. This based primarily on my previous posts on this topic, incorporating some new ideas based on reading and reviewing my own goal setting approach. I’ve been making new year goals and resolutions, along with setting priorities, for several years, I’ve incorporated the anti-resolution approach to reducing the behaviours I don’t like or am not proud of. So far, around 100 people have attended and participated, and the feedback has been positive. My objective is to enable others to establish for themselves their own goal and resolutions and have a better chance of achieving those.
Some additional suggestions when goal setting:
At the end of each session, I ask if there are any questions. Here are two that stuck with me:
How do get the courage to stick to your goals and choices when the rest of the world wants to tell you to do other things?
One of the benefits about the work of establishing priorities, categories, goals and resolutions is that it reinforces your own commitment to those things. Assessing and choosing your priorities is hard work, but the payoff is the conviction that these things really matter to you. If you’ve determined the criteria that are most important to you in your work or your life, you can use those criteria as guiding principles for setting your goals and resolutions. When those are based the principles that you’ve established for yourself, it becomes easier to stick to them when the going gets rough, and to defend them when others question them. And when you believe in what you’re doing and why, you can Ignore Everybody.
What if your big hairy audacious goal really is beyond your reach? Should you always have a “plan b”?
You might want to always have a plan b, no matter how hairy your goal. But for those really big ones (“I want to be prime minister of Canada. I want to go to the moon.”), having alternatives is recommended, mostly because so much of what is required for those goals to happen is beyond your control. Yes, you can study history or aeronautics, and be top of your class. You can schmooze and network, you can train and volunteer. In the end, the individuals who achieve such goals do so with a pretty decent amount of good fortune on their side. And for every one who achieves those goals, there are many more who do not.
Keeping those big goals in mind can be motivational, but a laser focus on such a specific and very difficult target can cause you to miss some other opportunities along the way. One approach might be to consider the priorities approach and assess what it is about that specific role that is interesting or appealing. Perhaps it is the fame or status of the role that aligns with your priorities. But there may be other priorities that you have, such as quiet time in the outdoors, that conflicts with those priorities. Understanding that, you might then identify a different goal or direction that aligns with more of your priorities and allows you to maintain a balance of all things that are important to you.
One of my own priorities is “the opportunity to contribute to development of others.” Putting on these sessions is in keeping with that, and I’m very fortunate that I have the support within my organization to develop and deliver these materials. Even better, I learn some things in the development of the sessions and in the interactions with participants, and I feel a great sense of pride when I hear from attendees that the materials and insights were useful to them.
Who is Robyn?
My career as a research project manager is rewarding, dynamic, challenging, and fun. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in communication, organization, and common sense approaches in research management and leadership, and to enabling others to learn and grow in this exciting career.