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PHIL HARDWICK — How goal setting worked for my group last year



This time a year ago I used this space to discuss how to do a personal end of year review and to set goals for the coming year. I also invited you to either form a goal setters group or join my very own goal setters group. Several optimistic and hearty souls did so. Now it’s time to report the results. Before doing so it seems only appropriate to review the most popular goals set by others last year.

According to Neilsen, here are the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions of 2015:

1. Stay fit and healthy (37 percent)

2. Lose weight (32 percent)

3. Enjoy life to the fullest (28 percent)

4. Spend less, save more (25 percent)

5. Spend more time with family and friends (19 percent)

6. Get organized (18 percent)

7. Will not make any resolutions (16 percent)

8. Learn something new/new hobby (14 percent)

9. Travel more (14 percent)

10. Read more (12 percent)

I have not seen any followup on whether the above goals/resolutions were achieved. In my goal setters group we definitely achieved most, but not all, of our personal goals. By the way, in the goal setting world the most often used acronym for successful goal achievement is SMART, meaning that the goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.

The group consisted of six persons. Two are government employees in influential positions, one is an association manager, one is a public relations manager, one is an author and one is yours truly. The group began with seven people signed up, but one dropped out before attending any meetings. Our plan was to meet quarterly and report updates on our goals. At our first meeting, we got to know each other better and then announced our goals for 2015. In general, our goals were in the following categories:

Become better fit and healthy/lose weight;

Publish books, complete manuscripts, write articles;

Get organized/clean up the clutter in our lives; and

Expand our individual organization’s outreach.

By December, every member had achieved almost all of his or her goals. We attribute that to implementing the keys to achieving goals, which are (1) write down the goal, (2) share the goal with someone else and (3) be held accountable. Our goals were written and then shared with each other. We also knew that every quarter we would meet with the group and report on the progress of our goals. Our meetings lasted an hour and a half and were held over lunch.

After our first two meetings, an interesting thing happened. The group discovered that the members were sharing not only the goal updates, but were providing each other with personal growth ideas, personal support and even professional opportunity sharing. The group decided that it would like to meet monthly, and then did so for the second half of the year.

It was at that point that I realized that this collection of goal setters had become a Mastermind Group. That concept was enunciated by Napoleon Hill in his timeless classic, “Think And Grow Rich,” in which he defined a Mastermind Group as,

“The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” He added, “No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”

During the year we learned that it was okay to drop or amend some goals if it became obvious that they could not be achieved due to extenuating circumstances or if the environment had changed. For example, one of my goals was to complete writing a  biography of Senator John C. Stennis. This was an important goal to me because at the time I made the goal there was no existing biography in publication and I felt his was a story that needed to be told in book form. However, during the year a biography of Stennis by another author was published thereby removing my primary reason for wanting to write the book.

Our group will dissolve soon because we agreed at the beginning that it would last only one calendar year because our goals were time bound, i.e. would be completed by the end of the year. It has been an invigorating and valuable experience. Every member of the group agreed that they would not have had as productive a year had it not been for the fact that they had to meet and report their progress.

So what happens now? Just like last year I am now forming a goal setters group that will meet monthly. If you are in the Jackson area and this concept appeals to you then contact me for more details at the email address below. The only monetary cost is for the monthly lunch. If you are not in the Jackson area then consider forming your own goal setters group.

Here’s to a productive 2016.

» Phil Hardwick is a regular Mississippi Business Journal columnist and owner of Hardwick & Associates, LLC, which provides strategic planning facilitation and leadership training services. His email is phil@philhardwick. com and he’s on the web at www.philhardwick.com.


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