Managing Monday: Monthly Goal Setting
The start of a new month is always exciting for me. Yes, while paying bills due on the first of the month is an annoyance, a new month represents so much more to me. To me, a new month represents a new chance and another opportunity to grow and become better. Something that I’ve adopted in 2012 to help me grow each month is setting aside a couple of hours on the last day of each month to write out goals for the new month.
My idea for monthly goal setting came to me through my duties as a national officer of my sorority, Sigma Kappa. Each January, I travel to collegiate chapters across the nation to train their incoming officers. What I love about Sigma Kappa’s leadership training model, is that it allows the collegiate women to set their own goals and determine how they are going to attain them by outlining objectives to reach the goals. During the course of the weekend that I spend with a respective chapter, we evaluate the critical goals that the chapter must meet in order to become the best that it can be. Then, we spend a significant amount of time detailing the objectives the chapter must meet to achieve the goal.
Seeing this process firsthand numerous times has reiterated the importance of constantly revisiting goals in order to achieve them. Given this, beginning in January 2012, I have made it a point to revisit my goals at least once a month. Revisiting my goals this frequently has allowed me to do a couple of things. First, it has allowed me to recognize the progress I have made. More importantly, though, it has allowed me to more clearly see the things I need to do to achieve my goals.
So, how do I set monthly goals? I do it by keeping things small and manageable.
Each of us has at least one clear, overarching goal. It could be to find a career that you’re passionate about. It might be to fall in love and start a family. Perhaps it is to see the world. For me, it is to work in sports media.
Clear, overarching goals are good. However, to achieve them, you likely need to check many smaller goals off of the list. That’s why monthly goal setting is important. It provides you twelve opportunities to cross small items off of the list with the intent of one day hitting that clear, overarching goal.
The key to monthly goal setting is identifying the small things you need to do to achieve you’re clear, overarching goal.
For me at this juncture, those small things essentially amount to finding exposure. Whenever I talk about my agent, we spend a lot of time discussing what basically boils down to exposure. I need more TV appearances. I need writing opportunities that have the potential of being read by wide audiences. I need to be heard by more people on the radio. From our conversations, it seems as though to me, that hitting my clear, overarching goal at this point hinges largely upon exposure.
Given this, for October, my short-term goals focus exclusively upon exposure. Thus, my overarching goal for the month of October would be to gain more exposure. After defining what my goal is, I then set out the objectives–or means to achieving–I will follow to attain my goal. For example, one objective I can complete to achieve my goal of gaining more exposure, is to appear on radio shows in markets I have never appeared on.
It is important to write out your goals and objectives so you can visualize them and return to them throughout the month. Here is a sample of my goals and objectives for October, to get you started on drafting your own:
My goal is to: Gain more exposure so that my capability of sharing sports business and sports law stories becomes known to more people who may be able to help me achieve my clear, overarching goal of attaining a sports media career.
Objectives I will complete to attain this goal:
1. Tape segments on four sports radio shows in four markets that I have never been on.
To achieve this objective, I need to:
A. Research media markets in which you have not taped radio show segments.
B. Research radio shows and compile a list of which ones you may be interested in appearing on.
C. Compile a spreadsheet of contact information and Twitter accounts for the show’s hosts and producers.
D. Draft email introducing yourself and sending a sample segment.
E. Follow up with the hosts and producers to schedule the taping.
Writing this goal and list of objectives took all of ten minutes. Executing it will take significantly longer. However, if I complete it, I will have done exactly what I needed to this month. Because I did exactly what I needed to this month, I will be one step closer to achieving my clear, overarching goal than I was last month.
Monthly goal setting has proven to be incredibly beneficial in my life. Given how busy life becomes and how easy it is to fall off course when it comes to pursuing your dream, monthly goal setting provides an easy way to maintain the course.
How often do you set goals? How often do you revisit your goals to make sure you’re still on the course to achieving them?