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Do you have 30 minutes? Set your goals for the coming year!

Russ Hissom's picture
Owner, Utility Accounting Education Specialists -

Russ is the owner of Utility Accounting Education Specialists a firm that provides power utilities consulting services and online/on-demand courses on accounting, finance, FERC best-practices,...

  • Member since 2021
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  • Jan 3, 2023

Let's take this opportunity to write on a non-industry topic.

Have you been procrastinating in setting your goals for 2023? Is one of your goals not to procrastinate in 2023? Setting goals can seem like a very involved exercise and one that you don't have time for. But would you travel to somewhere new without your GPS? Probably not, although you could ask for directions along the way like in "The Amazing Race" (guys don't ask for directions, do they?).

Here is a template to outline your goals for 2023 in 30 minutes or less. You would not want to take 30 minutes to form your goals for an entire year, but sometimes putting things in writing gets the juices and ideas flowing. Once you're in a better state of focus, you'll find it will be easier to imagine yourself a year from now, doing your annual look-back review and having that feeling of accomplishment that you met the bulk of your goals and are ready to tackle 2024 and beyond. Your words will flow, and your goals will become more detailed, then more refined, and the action steps needed to attain the goal will become clear.

Areas for focus

Do an internet search on "setting goals," and you'll find millions of results. There is no secret formula to goal setting. In reading biographies of successful individuals, though, they use a consistent framework that is both reflective and requires action.

Goal setting approach of the successful

Here is a systematic process for setting goals:

1. Write down goals in key areas. Three goals in each of these focus points will give you a year filled with focus, fulfillment, momentum, and excellent results:

1. Spiritual goals

2. Family goals

3. Health goals

2. Contributions (serving others with time and talents)

3. Financial goals

4. Career success

Next, lay out a plan to take action in each area:

1. Define the action steps you'll need to attain those goals

2. Commit yourself to action

3. Review your highest priority goals every day

4. Review and re-prioritize goals every week – have weekly, quarterly and semi-annual targets

5. Assess your success each week, refocus or zero in on an area if needed

6. Modify goals if needed as your year progresses

7. Do this same process more generally for longer-term goals – 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25-year goals.

The list is written for individual goal setting but can be equally effective in setting business goals. For example, all businesses have spiritual and family aspects; they're just labeled "company philosophy" and "team."

Work-Life balance and focus

There are different schools of thought on work-life balance. Some say to split your time equally in all areas, others to weight family vs. work, or work vs. family depending on your season in life. Some say that work-life balance is not attainable, i.e., your energies flow in the direction of your interests and vary throughout the year depending on the situation.

With a balanced set of goals, i.e., focusing on 2 or 3 main goals in each area, you'll most likely find that your "balance" will ebb and flow. The review process helps keep you focused and serves as a navigation tool and early alert system to point out lagging areas that need adjustment or more attention.

It is never too late to plan

Perhaps you diligently set your goals to start fresh on January 1. But maybe it's now March; is it too late? Of course not. January 1 is an arbitrary date on the calendar. You can start the goal-setting process anytime. The path to success lies not only in the execution of your plan but regular, frequent reviews of your plan and course adjustments as necessary to keep you on track.


About Russ Hissom - Article Author

Russ is the owner of Utility Accounting Education Specialists a firm that provides power utilities consulting services and online/on-demand courses on accounting, finance, FERC best-practices, improving business processes, and implementing strategy. Russ is passionate about the Power and Utilities Industry and his goal is to share industry best practices to help better your business and enhance your career knowledge. He has over 35 years serving electric investor-owned and public power utilities, electric cooperatives, broadband providers, and water, wastewater, and gas utilities as a past partner in a national public accounting and consulting firm's power and utilities practice. Russ was named one of the 2021 Top Voices in the Energy Central Community by EnergyBiz Network.

Find out more about Utility Accounting Education Specialists here or you can reach Russ at

The material in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal or accounting advice provided by UAES. You should seek formal advice on this topic from your accounting or legal advisor.


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