One mark of high-achievers is goal-setting. Most of the successful people I know make it a priority to place targets at various points in the coming year and shoot for them.
You might already be working on your list of goals now. It could be increasing your income, launching a product, or starting a new business.
All that’s good. Go for it. But don’t neglect the areas you’ll regret the most if you fail to give them your attention.
It’s simple to slip into the trap. We like winning—we’re good at winning—and our focus tends toward what we’re good at. The bad news is that we sometimes do it at the expense of other areas that are actually more important.
I spent some time yesterday reading about regret. It was sobering.
Whether it was people on their deathbeds or powerful leaders looking back on successful careers, some common regrets came up again and again. I wish I had . . .
- spent more time with family
- built good friendships
- taken care of my health
- spent more time away from work
It’s easy for these things to slip.
There’s been a lot of talk over the last several years about work-life balance. The distinction between work time and personal time gets fuzzier and fuzzier.
There are great opportunities here of course. We can be take better advantage of our most creative moments, fit work where it works best, and so on. But there are also great risks.
You might work on a freelance project while your much-needed vacation vanishes. You might stay on top of your email by skipping the gym or skimping on sleep. You might take care of calls in the evening while your family sits in the other room, waiting to see your face.
Maybe that works for you. Or maybe you’re setting yourself up for some big regrets. We’ve all done it. But I say 2014 is the year that stops.
It doesn’t have to be either/or. You don’t have to achieve success at the expense of your family, social life, spiritual life, and your health. What if 2014 could be your best year ever—not just for your career, but also for every area of your life?
Take a minute and look over your list. How many of your upcoming goals factor your spouse, kids, friends, health, and leisure?
Maybe you only have a blind spot in one area. Excellent. Make this the year you really excel there.
Maybe, on the other hand, you’ve neglected several important areas of your personal life that could benefit from renewed attention in the coming year.
To help you place the right targets in 2014 I’ve created a free, three-part video series that’s all about setting powerful, effective goals. You can use the program for professional goals, but it works great for personal goals as well. I know I’ve done it for years.
As leaders, our competence lies in influencing others toward professional victories. But don’t neglect the personal wins. We have to lead ourselves first.
If you’ve tried and failed to make progress toward personal goals in the past, it’s easy to approach this kind of thing with a sense of dread or even defeat. Don’t. This is a proven process for achieving your personal goals.
Just imagine what could happen with your marriage, your kids, your overall wellbeing if you set some effective goals and made some real progress toward them.
This is a special opportunity that will only be available for a few more days, so act while you can.
Don’t waste the best moments of your life ignoring the best things in your life. Now’s the time to get intentional about achieving success without multiplying regrets.
I am the author of the New York Times bestseller, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World (Thomas Nelson). It is also a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller.
I am the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. I have spent my career in the publishing industry.
I now write, speak, and consult full-time. I am married and have five daughters.