Goal setting: does it have its place? I think so.

Ah, goal setting. What a helpful, glorious idea – even if it doesn’t always seem like it.

I’ve been a goal setter all my life. For the past several years, when the mood strikes me, I sit down about once a year and begin listing my goals. (Last year I discovered, when looking at the dates of all my previous lists, that I always do this in September. Something about fall coming inspires me I guess.)

Sometimes creating these lists is exciting. I begin looking forward to all the things I’m going to do in the upcoming year or two. But sometimes, it can be frustrating – especially when certain goals make an appearance each year, reminding me that another year has passed without completing a goal I’ve already had for so many years.

One of those reoccurring goals has been: “Earn my second degree black belt.” In fact, it’s been on the list since I earned my first degree black belt six years ago.

Each year, as I again write “Earn my second degree black belt” I feel a little pang of regret. By now I should be testing for my fourth degree – not my second! And so it goes.

The same can begin to happen in our jobs, businesses or organizations. We begin our journey full of goals, plans, dreams and ideas.

Increase ROI
o Determine what’s working and what isn’t. Do more of what’s working and less of what isn’t.
o Establish a marketing plan
o Create a more efficient billing system
o Attend more networking events
o Reach out to more potential clients
o Invest more money into myself and my team
o Join a new professional organization

Sound familiar?

But as the dust settles and we get into a rhythm, it’s easy to let those goals slide, especially if things are going “OK.” Suddenly having some down time looks a lot more appealing than adding more things to your plate – or your company’s plate.

However, how long is “OK” going to cut it for you and your team? What happens if the economy takes a further plunge – like we’ve all recently witnessed? A lot of companies that were doing “OK” are now out of business.

At the beginning of this year, for some happy reason, I decided I didn’t want to face another September of “shoulda, woulda, coulda” and started in on actually checking things off my list.

Skydiving (been on the list since high school) – Check
Go to El Salvador with church (same) – Check
Earn my second degree black belt (six years) – In the process of being a Check

Although the last item is not a “check” yet, I did complete my pre-test for it last week with the hopes of testing for the belt (finally) in October. Regardless of whether I pass the October test, I know my preparation for the pre-test – and the test itself – has significantly increased my skill and also inspired me to begin eating better and get into better shape so I can actually make it through the test.

So as I look at my list this month, I don’t feel that usual pang of regret. Instead I’m wondering, “What new goals should I establish?” And I’ve gotta tell you, that feels good.

Do you have goals for yourself or your business that have been on your list a little too long? If so, what time is better than the present to begin moving forward on accomplishing some of the goals?

Carpe diem!

Melissa Rothermel serves as the Director of Media Relations for Imagine Marketing.
Contact Melissa at

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