Dear Members:

With 2022 knocking at the door, now is the time of year I tend to think about goals and objectives, both personal and professional, that I would like to accomplish in the coming year. If you’re anything like me, now is also the time of year when I think about previous goals I didn't accomplish. Remembering goals I didn’t fully achieve isn’t enjoyable. And sometimes, failing to complete a goal can make us fear setting new goals because of the negativity we associate with what we perceive as failure. A while back I found a podcast about goal-setting that was both helpful and encouraging to me, and, whether or not you look forward to setting goals or the thought of New Year’s “resolutions” makes you cringe, I hope you find these tips as helpful as I did.

“All it Takes is a Goal” is a series of podcasts by Jon Acuff about setting and striving to achieve goals. Episode 31 of his series, titled “The 4 best steps to take before you start a new goal,” resonated strongly with me because as the leader of an organization, I’m regularly creating and executing business objectives and strategic initiatives to further the success of our members. In this episode, John focuses on how to build a “base” for your goal. He says “the best map in the world is useless if you don’t know where you are when you first open it.” Basically, you need a starting line to find the finish line. “One of the biggest reasons people quit their goals is because they don’t see enough progress,” John says. “Progress never shows up. Progress is found, not received. We have to actively, deliberately look for progress. You’ll never know how far you’ve come if you don’t know where you started from.” That “starting from” point is your base. To build that base, John lists four practical steps:

  • Find a number to measure. For example, your current weight, amount of water you drink, number of products your business sold in a week, are all measurable components.
  • Measure it. Take the time to record it: write it down in a notebook, enter it into a spreadsheet, etc.
  • Ignore any negative feelings. Regardless of what your goal is, you might feel discouraged at some point that the progress “looks” small at the beginning. These feelings are normal but they should be ignored. Emotions will never give you an accurate picture of how far you’ve come; you need the context of a starting point to gauge your progress.
  • Make the base as visible as possible. Basically, remind yourself of it: put it on a sticky note on your computer screen, write it on a white board, etc. Keep it in front of you. If fear implies that progress isn’t coming fast enough, you can look at your numbers for proof to see how much you’ve actually done.

As a leader of an organization, setting the goal, building the base measurement and being transparent about the progress towards the goal creates engagement and excitement around a shared objective. The more information you’re able to share throughout your organization, the more everyone will know how they can contribute to the goal/goals. You’ll also better understand the roadblocks facing individual teams and be able to address them more specifically.

As the New Year approaches, I hope these four tips help shed new light on setting and achieving goals and the action steps you can take to succeed.


Melissa Ashley