Do You Hate Goals? Try This Instead!

The thought of setting goals puts some people on edge. If you are among those who would rather go to the dentist than set a goal, I have a new approach for you as we begin the second quarter of the year. It’s an approach ideally suited for the person who has unsuccessfully tried and is now tired of goals but still desires personal growth. Instead of making a list of the top 10 things you’d like to accomplish, simply pick 5 -10 words you want to describe who you are or what you do.

Then narrow your list down to the one word that is calling your name. The idea is not just to make the process of progress easier but to actually move you toward action. Multiple objectives tucked away in a drawer or in a notebook on a spreadsheet look great on January 1, but they are easily and quickly forgotten without concentrated effort and discipline. I certainly believe it is worth the effort, but I’d rather see you make progress using the one word approach than become frustrated over a more detailed list.

My suggestion is to pick a new word every 90 days. The shorter time frame like the “one word approach” is designed to simplify and set you up for results. If you haven’t made significant progress after three months you may choose to keep your word for another quarter. If you are satisfied with your gains, choose a new word next quarter.

In all transparency, this is not really that new of an approach; a variation of what I’m suggesting has been written about in several popular books, the earliest of which seems to be One Word That Will Change Your Life by Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, and Jon Gordon (I find it ironic that it took three authors to write a book about one word). I also heard my friend Patrick Brannon speak on this subject a few years ago at our church. To prove this idea is at least memorable, I still remember his one word was “urgency” (don’t tell me if I’m wrong, Patrick).

Since it would not be authentic to ask you to engage in this exercise and skip it myself, I’ve come up with my list.

The Nominees are (since I’m writing this on the day of the Academy of Country Music Awards, a Barber household holiday):

Intentional - Too many times I find myself wasting time, losing track of time or saying, “I’m just killing time.” Instead of wasting it, losing it or killing it, I want to tell my time where to go. I want to be intentional.

Grit - It is one of the key ingredients that makes the difference between successful and average people. I don’t want to spend all my time working, but while I am at work, I want to work hard and push through. I hope grit describes the other areas of my life as well. 

Availability - Relationships are the most important thing in life. In the busyness of many demands I don’t want to miss the thing life is most about. I hope to be more available to my family, friends, and others.

Ownership - I read the book Extreme Ownership earlier this year and it challenged me to be totally responsible for my life, job, relationships and my failures. I can’t blame circumstances or other people when I come up short. I must own it.

Beginnings - As I wrote last week, the way one begins a day or a task is critical to success. As I strive to grow my business and attempt new things I want to begin each chapter or assignment well. Starting well will set me up to finish well.

Passion - I have been spending a lot of time lately with my good friend Randy Gravitt. He has a new book out called Unstuck (you should get a copy here) that speaks on the subject of regaining passion. Two things I have learned from Randy through the years are to do what I am passionate about and more importantly to bring passion to what I am already doing.

Risk - If I had gone through this exercise six months ago, this would be my one word for sure. I have written a lot about risk this past quarter, and I am growing in this area, but I still have a long way to go. I still stay in my comfort zone longer than I should.

No - I am a people-pleaser. One of my top strengths on the StrengthsFinder Assessment is “Harmony.” It means I like everyone to get along and to include everyone in the process. This is a good thing, but the flip side of every strength is a potential weakness and I have found one of mine here. I must learn to say “no” to more things so I can say "yes" to the most important things.

May I have the envelope please…………… And the winner is ………….. I’m predicting Luke Bryan at the ACMs and choosing Grit for my 90 day focus.

Take a few minutes and write down a few of your words (or steal some of mine). I’d love to hear your winner.