When I was an adolescent my father created and ran a weeklong leadership-training course for teenage boys in my local area. The year I turned 15 I was invited to attend the course. I was not very excited about spending the first week of my summer vacation at a camp going through training. I had been to leadership camps before and to be honest did not wan to go to another one and end up doing all the work at camp just to make sure it got done like had happened to me in the past. Plus, my dad was running the course so before it even began I already wanted to go home. Getting to camp the first morning I was greeted with a nice breakfast, turns out this camp had a cooking staff so the food was good and I did not have to do any of the work so this camp might be different so I decided to give it a chance and was glad I did. Not only did we work hard and learn a great deal about leadership, we also played hard and had a lot of fun. All of the activities for the week were planned and carried out by the participants so we got to do what we wanted to do–even the one activity where we wanted to drive over 40 miles to go to a water park. All the camp staff asked about the trip was if we wanted the cooking staff to pack us lunches. Over the years and in management roles in my life I have had the opportunity to go through some of the best management and leadership training offered, however the one that I gained the most from is the one in the woods that my dad put on. Part of that might be because I spent over a decade on staff and even was the course director a time or two.
I think one of the reasons that the camp was so successful is that all the leadership principles, once taught, were put into action–both at the camp and then again back home. Like many programs out there we were taught the importance of goal setting and the SMART method of setting goals. Once taught, we put it into action by setting goals for our contracts that we finished out at home with our advisors. Because of this I learned to set and us goals and still do to this day. A good video resources that I found on YouTube is by Ed Muzio that I thought I would share to help brush up on the SMART Goal setting method called “Setting SMART Goals”
I set goals every year and have yearly, six month and three month goals. I use the shorter three and six month goals to help me achieve my larger goals. One of my yearly goals right now is to lose weight. To be specific I wan to weigh 200 LBS or less in one year. I like to set goals that I can measure and see how I am doing and I know exactly how many pounds I need to loss. I worked with my doctor to set the goal and have lost weight in the past so I feel the goal is very attainable and realistic for me. Having two young kids, my wife and I are trying to be more active to instill good health and living in our kids so this goal is very relevant to my personal as well as family life so it helps that my goal is relevant giving me the support I will need as well as making the goal that much more likely to be achieved. For this goal I set a time limit of 12 months.
Going to school, working and being a family man means time is sometimes a hard commodity to come by so one of my three month goals is to make it to the gym 5 days a week. Again, I used the SMART method to set the goal so that I know they goals are worth working towards and I am confident that I will be successful. I have not been perfect with this goal so far due to some traveling so I amended the goal to be working out at least 50 minutes five days a week. Sometimes that’s what you have to do with goals, you have to track your progress and make changes as needed to be successful.
Goal setting has added a lot of value to my life and is something I plan on doing the rest of my life. I know it can be hard to do for some people to get into the habit and feel lucky that my dad found a way to teach this great skill to me. If setting goals is hard for you to do one approach that I have found to be a good place to start is write out 10 SMART goals on a peace of paper, fold it up and put it away for a year. At the end of the year pull out your paper and see what happened. Just by writing them down you increased your odds of success and you will be surprised what can happen. If you started with 10 SMART goals and wrote them down, then by the end of the 12 months you will find that five or six of them get accomplished. If you don’t believe me try it. What do you have to lose?