We set goals. We work towards goals. We achieve goals…sometimes. And sometimes, we don’t achieve goals. We get so wrapped in achieving a goal we set for ourselves that too often we neglect to recognize the wonderful benefits that even just setting a goal provides.

At the end of 2017, I shared a blog post here at All Together Now titled “Purposeful Discovery and Successful Resolution for 2018.” Taking a lesson from Working Out Loud by John Stepper, I hoped that by sharing my goals for the year to come in a way that was visible for all to see, I could feel that I was held more accountable to the goals I set for myself, and hopefully, people who read my blog might realize ways they could help.

I published that blog article, and felt exposed. What if I couldn’t achieve my goals? What if nobody helped? What if absolutely nothing happened? I re-read that blog article today, and realized that it actually served as a wonderful roadmap for my 2018 work and personal year, and while I am happy with what I have achieved, there is still a lot more work to do.

Working Out Loud
While we did continue launch more Working Out Loud circles at my organization, we have reached a tipping point of sorts. With over 18 circles having done the work of Working Out Loud, there are fewer and fewer employees left who have yet to experience Working Out Loud for themselves. What we do see is many new employees who are eager to participate, and more and more employees who have done a Working Out Loud circle once want to do it again.

We continue to think about ways to bring Working Out Loud to non-staff members of our organization, and while I have connected with some other like minded Working Out Loud gurus around the world, I still have a lot of networking to do.

Microsoft and Yammer
In my blog article last year, I clearly lay out a goal of wanting to become a Microsoft MVP during the 2018, and I came oh so close. I hoped to become an MVP so I would have more access to more resources and experts in supporting the Yammer work of our organization. Though I did not become an MVP in 2018, I did become an MVP on January 2, 2019, so I will consider this a goal achieved, just a couple of days late.

In this case, I think that voicing my MVP intent publicly in my blog was helpful. People became aware that I wanted to achieve this recognition, and they helped me achieve that goal.

I did continue to plan midwest Yammer meet up luncheons, and though our group is pretty small, we always enjoy our time together talking Yammer and O365 issues over tasty French fries and sandwiches. For the year to come, I will do my best to take advantage of all the opportunities presented by the Microsoft MVP program, and I hope that I will be a more effective technology leader at the end of 2019 as a result.

The Tent and the URJ
Our Yammer network at the URJ, called The Tent, grew to almost 12,000 users in 2018, and we have been formally recognized as one of the most robust Yammer networks in the world in a recent global benchmarking study. I have spoken about our Yammer success at major conferences, and our Yammer network has helped our staff and members navigate through some truly difficult, challenging situations.

We continue to explore ways to increase our already strong user engagement levels, and how user data and analytics can help us continue to drive connection with our work through Yammer.

Health and Fitness
My goal for this year was to run six miles a day, five days a week. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with a slightly herniated disc in my back about halfway through the year, so my running days (at least for now) are behind me.

However, I have tried to sustain my commitment to regular exercise. I was able to do 27,375 pushups in 2018 (50 each day from January 1 – June 30, and 50 twice a day from July 1 to December 31), and now I ride a stationary bicycle about 18-20 miles a day, five days a week. In the year to come, I hope to engage in more different kinds of exercise (would love to hear your recommendations), and maybe even get back to running.

With the start of a new year, we often find ourselves reviewing goals from the year just ended, and setting goals for the year to come. But rarely do our goals ever have a firm beginning and end date. We try to make meaningful progress towards goals, and even if we are fortunate enough to achieve a goal, that achievement often leads to setting new goals.

Whether you achieve your goals or not, recognize that each goal is part of the larger goal that is a life of happiness and fulfillment, and every effort made towards every goal you have set for yourself is valuable and meaningful.

Set the goals. Do your best. Let’s keep in touch. I’ll see you next year.

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