Recently I posted an evaluation of 2010 professional goals here, including which goals I've met, which I haven't, and those that I might still reach by the end of the year. I always set a lot of goals for myself, and I mentioned in the discussion surrounding that post that I do so for a reason -- I know I'll fail at some.
And that's okay. You won't reach every goal you set for yourself professionally. Frankly, if you do, you aren't really challenging yourself enough. To be the best you can be (at anything) you have to push yourself. You have to find your limits, and you have to push past them.
I set ambitious goals. And in a few days you'll see what ambitious goals I've set for myself in 2011 too. But going into it I know I will reach many, and I know I'll fail when it comes to some. You learn to be okay with that. You learn that it's alright not to achieve every plan or goal. And hopefully by accepting that fact you'll learn to set even tougher goals for yourself the next time around, with the knowledge that prioritizing them effectively is half the battle to reaching any.
So go ahead. Set ambitious goals for yourself for next year. Whatever you accomplished this year, find a way to exceed it. Keep your business growing. Figure out how to earn the same amount (or more) while working less. Write that book. Launch that blog you've thought about. Start a local writers' group. Make a plan to do whatever it is you really want to do, no matter how unlikely it might feel right now. Better yet, set a lot of goals. Even the small ones matter. And sometimes reaching the small goals motivates you to work harder to reach the bigger ones.
It's okay to change that plan later on. Evaluate your goals every month, every quarter, every six months.... Eliminate the goals that don't make sense for you anymore. Careers are fluid. They change directions and morph into new things over time. You can replace old goals with new ones whenever you want. The key isn't reaching every goal you set. It's to keep setting them, working toward something rather than just grinding from one day to the next.
This weekend I'll share some of my own goals for 2011. But what about you? What do you most want to achieve next year? Are you ready to make a plan to make it happen?