Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions - The Key to Achieving Your Goals: Accountability

Anyone in Corporate America knows that there is one thing everyone can count on - identification of yearly goals and objectives.  It's a continuous process and begins with identifying goals and objectives for the upcoming year.  Once those goals/objectives have been identified, progress is tracked periodically throughout the year, ending in a final self assessment.  Once the self assessment is complete, management uses that, in addition to peer reviews to determine your final rating and ranking among your peers for the year.

Some people take it seriously, others don't.

For the past eight years, I have gone through a rigorous process of identifying my goals and objectives for the upcoming year and fortunately, I have been fairly successful at achieving those work, that is.  While contemplating my personal life, I recently experienced what I call a "Lightbulb" of those moments where suddenly, everything seems clear!  "Why in the world don't I go through the same process for my own personal goals?!?"  

Why go through the process?  Well, its not for everyone, but if you want to continually improve yourself year after year, it is a must - it serves as a baseline to determine the areas for improvement, OR alternatively, the areas where you excel.  Bottom line: nothing is more satisfying than looking back at your accomplishments over the past year and this process gives you a framework to establish goals and objectives, periodically assess and complete a final assessment.

The last item required to successfully complete this process is accountability.  How can you establish accountability?  Start an 'accountability group' or identify an 'accountability friend' who will hold you accountable to achieving your goals (JD for personal, AM for career/business), set up rewards for yourself along the way, or in my case, in addition to my accountability friends, track progress throughout the year in a blog!

This quote from Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in Wonderland' sums it up:
     Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? 
     Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
     Alice: I don't much care where.  
     Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go. 

You need a goal...something to shoot for, something to guide you along your journey.  Goals and objectives give you a clear path - you may achieve your objectives or you may not, but you will surely learn a lot about yourself along the way.  My dear friend JW went through that exact process this past year and was fortunate enough to achieve 12 out of his 33 defined goals!! Congrats JW!!

"It's the journey, not the destination..." 

My goals for 2011 are listed below and are defined into three main areas: Getting Back to Basics, Personal Goals, Team Goals.

Getting Back to Basics
This section focuses on implementing 'process improvements' to every day chores to minimize the frustration and anxiety that comes when they simply get ignored:
     1. Weekly Planning - my goal for weekly planning is to define certain days throughout the week to perform the chores so that I can enjoy my family during the weekend.
          a. Daycare Drop Off / Pick Up Schedule - being a working Mom and a career woman can be hectic.  My husband and I go through a daily routine of determining drop off/pick up schedules for daycare and I have been notorious for changing the schedule last minute.  Things do pop up last minute at work, but I would like to develop some notion of consistency through the New Year.
          b. Meal Planning - dinners,  day care breakfast/lunch/snacks - it is just too hectic when you come home from work and think 'What's for Dinner?'
          c. Laundry - also known as 'The Monster!' Does it make sense to dedicate certain days of the week to manage this monster? Let's find out...
          d. Cleaning

Personal Goals
     2. Read more - 10 total books for the year.  This may seem insignificant to some, but when I was younger I LOVED to read.  Now, it just seems as though I don't have enough time.  I'd like to be well read so this year, I want to make an effort to read a total of 10 books: 4 books related to career/business and 6 from a 'Top Books to Read' list.  I haven't yet defined the business books, but the 6 from the 'Top Books' list are as follows:
          1. 1984 by George Orwell
          2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
          3. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
          4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
          5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
          6. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

**Luckily, I borrowed 1984 from my Father-in-Law so I plan to start that tomorrow!!

In addition to the books listed above, I have a book detailing the history of the Presidents - I would like to find time to enhance my knowledge.  The reason you might ask?  Being able to answer more questions on 'Jeopardy'!
     3. Work on my book - I am in the process of writing a book on being a working mother.  I plan to submit an abstract to the 'Society of Women Engineers' National Conference (accountability!!) and would like to release a draft copy to those interested at the conference.

     4.  Knitting - Two years ago in February, I started to knit.  I've successfully completed numerous projects - for this year, I would like to complete the following:
          a. Christmas stockings for my family (3)
          b. Christmas sweater for my son
          c. Two Hats - one for each of my nephews
          d. Baby Shower gift for my dear friend, JG - her baby is due in May, so this is my TOP priority for knitting!

Team Goals
By team goals, I mean those goals I'm going to accomplish hand in hand with my team mate and partner... my dear and wonderful hubby.

     5.  Schedule some 'Us' time...'Us' time minus the bambino, of course -- although I love the time we spend as a family,  I want to make sure we continue to grow together and build on our wonderful relationship.

     6.  Work to increase our personal savings

I have more that I would like to do...I would like to enter an amateur piano competition, improve and learn more about photography, improve my quilting skills however I just don't think its realistic to sign up for everything right now...let's leave some for next year :)

That is all that I am willing to sign up for this year - I think it is aggressive, but I've made the first step.  I've captured my goals, relayed them to you (my additional accountability group) and plan to track my progress weekly throughout the year.

It makes sense to apply this process to my personal life..let's just see if my hunch is right!!

Thanks for joining me on my journey!

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