I’ve always had goals for my life. I’d venture to guess that most of us have. But until last year, my goals were always amorphous, non-specific, undeveloped creatures that had little bearing on my daily activities. That has changed, thanks in large part to reading and listening to Michael Hyatt and others like him. In 2016, I sat down and started setting goals for 2017. Specific, well-stated goals. Some of them were intimidating. But I wrote them in such a way that I knew what steps I would need to take in order to achieve them. And now I’m a believer in setting goals.
How to Write Effective Goals
In Michael Hyatt’s “Beginner’s Guide to Goal Setting,” he sets out five steps that enable you to write effective goals. I’m going to outline them here, but I encourage you to go read the guide, because he fleshes everything out very well.
- Keep your goals few in number
- Set “smart” goals: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound
- Write your goals down
- Review your goals frequently
- Share your goals selectively
My Goals for 2017
I’m going to break that last guideline by sharing with you some of the goals I set for 2017. I don’t do this to brag or boast (and certainly most of them are not worthy of that, regardless), but rather to show you that applying the principles outlined above will encourage you to take actions to enable you to achieve the goals you set.
- Establish relationships with 2 new insurance clients
- It is not coincidence this is at the top of my list. I have long heard in this business, if you don’t have your own book of business, you are completely dispensable. So on average, I spend about 2 hours per week with marketing related activities. Here’s another thing I’ve heard: Good luck can often be chalked up to putting yourself in a place to be successful or take advantage of an opportunity when it arises. With that in mind, I have put in the work and had the good fortune to add two insurance companies as clients with my firm.
- Active participation in 2 trials
- I have not yet achieved this goal, but we have about a dozen cases set for trial between now and the end of the year. So this is still in the probable success category. I have tried one case, so all I need is one more to fall the right way. Next year I will likely differentiate between jury and bench trials. But at the rate these things settle or get continued, it’s largely out of my control.
- Publish at least 1 article
- In retrospect, I should have set this number higher. I have been averaging 2-3 per year. So only counting articles in trade publications, like the ADLA Journal or CLM Magazine, I will have had three articles published when the fall edition of the ADLA Journal comes out. If I’m counting guest-post articles on other websites, that will bring my yearly total to 6.
- Launch 2 e-books
- This one was going to rest squarely on my shoulders. Unlike speaking at an event or publishing an article, there was no one who had to invite me or accept my submission. In January, I released my first e-book, From Wreck to Check: Alabama Personal & Commercial Auto Defense in a Nutshell. I released my second one in June: Your Non-Compliance Can Cost More Than You Think: Legal Consequences of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Violations. (You can receive both of these by subscribing to this blog at the bottom of this post.)
- Speak at 1 conference/event
- For the last two years, I have spoken at one CLE seminar each year. This year, despite my goal of only one, I wanted to increase that number. In order to do that, I created a couple of opportunities. I reached out to a couple of local law schools to see if I could present to their students – they accepted. In another instance, I was invited to speak at a trucking litigation seminar at the end of the year. And I’ve received an invitation of a webinar early next year. So I’ll likely increase this goal for 2018 as well.
It’s Time to Start Setting Goals for 2018
Since it’s important for goals to be specific and ambitious, it’s important to start thinking early on about setting goals for upcoming year. Setting goals can be a powerful method of propelling yourself toward future success and is the best way to know how you are defining that success. I encourage you to do as I will and over the next three months put pen to paper and set goals for what you would like to accomplish in 2018.
Photo by humbletree.