Happy 2016!  First and foremost, I hope that this year is off to a great start, both personally and professionally.  To kick off the year, I want to talk about the importance of setting goals.  You might ask yourself why setting goals is so important.  My mentor educated me on this just a few years ago.  He said that without goals, you become like a hamster on a wheel going nowhere, and no one wants to work for, invest in, or be part of a company that is simply spinning its wheels.  This analogy gave me the incentive to create goals and move forward.
In years past, I would set New Year’s resolutions.  To be honest, they would hold for about the first month or two and then wither away, until the next year—kind of like a business plan that is written, printed, and then tucked away to collect dust.  However, about three years ago, that all changed for me.  I was tired of setting resolutions and not sticking to them.  So I set out to change this which, in retrospect, was resolution #1!
The first thing I did was change the word resolution to goal.  Being a competitive person, I like the word goal.  It worked better for me than resolution.  The second thing I did was list out everything that I wanted to accomplish personally and professionally.  I then studied this list and thought about what was realistic and what might take a few years to accomplish.  I realized while doing this exercise that I needed to select a few “slam dunks” because success gives me the fuel I need to keep fighting the good fight.  The harder goals take more dedication, perseverance, mental stamina, and energy.  Based on knowing this, I selected five to eight goals for the year, and equally split them between the “easily attainable” and the “in it for the long haul.”  The next step was to make it public by writing it down for myself and everyone around me to see.  I have learned that when I don’t put it out there, the accountability factor disappears. By making it public, you also enlist a natural support group of colleagues, family, and friends to help you achieve your goals. Putting it out there also keeps you from forgetting them, which in years past was my main reason for failure.
I would encourage you all to take the time to set goals for yourselves.  We all need to encourage each other to improve, grow, and be better people.