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Bruce McAlpineGoal Setting

2020 Vision – Personal Goal Setting

By December 11, 2019No Comments

I hit a BIG speed bump in 2019.  When I went in for my routine colonoscopy back in the spring, I expected to hear “Clear – see you in 5 years”.  Instead I heard “We need to talk – you have cancer, the cancer your mother, your younger brother and your cousin died of.

Eight months later, including 6 weeks of daily chemo and radiation and major abdominal surgery, I am recovering at home, sitting by the fire, reflecting.  As my wife of 47 years says, “Without faith, family and friends we wouldn’t have made it through this.”  (She also says “Grab the joy out of every day!”)

It was a speed bump all right.  I begin to think about the coming year and I determine that I don’t want to be sitting by the fire this time next year, no further ahead in achieving my dreams and goals.

As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  Quoting a friend of mine, “Forever isn’t as long as it used to be.”  My 2020 vision is definitely different than 2019.  So, it’s time to get serious about New Year’s Resolutions.

Barriers to Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

It becomes clear to me that challenges will come up whenever we try to achieve our goals.  These barriers don’t need to stop us – but we need to overcome them to be successful. Our ultimate success has a lot to do with our reaction to these barriers.

I realize that almost everything I have now, including my possessions and my current situation, has been determined by the choices that I have made.  My inner voice reminds me that “Choice, not chance, determines destiny”.

I also realize that (almost) everything that I don’t like is fixable, but that it will take effort.  Once again the little voice whispers “Dreams are things to be worked for, not wished for”.

And, I know that in general 80% of these “fixes” can be done within 12 months.

I am going to have to break old habits and replace them with new ones.  The little voice chimes in “Winning is a habit.  Unfortunately, so is losing.” (Vince Lombardi).  This is not going to be easy.  As Warren Buffett says, “The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.”

Creating Meaningful, Keepable Goals

Looking ahead to the New Year, I would like to improve 1 aspect of each area of my life.  In each area I ask myself 6 questions:

  1. What is a meaningful, motivational, achievable and measurable goal?
  2. Why is this important to me?
  3. What is involved in achieving this goal?
  4. How will I measure my progress? (What is the primary “leading indicator” or KPI that I am making progress towards my goal?)
  5. Who will hold me accountable along the way?
  6. How will I reward myself when I accomplish it?

As a pragmatist, I sketch out a chart because I am reminded that “Confidence comes with a plan”, and I commit to reviewing it weekly in the coming months.

AREA & GOAL KPI’s Q1 (Y/N) Q2 (Y/N) Q3 (Y/N) Q4 (Y/N)
BUSINESS – Grow by 10%/year
Focus on Centres of Influence 1 new Centre of Influence per quarter
Attend networking events 1 networking event per month
Add 4 new Accounts 1 new acct per quarter
PERSONAL FINANCES – Increase Net Worth by 10%
Reconcile bank and credit card statements Monthly by the 5th of each month
Reduce spending by differentiating between needs and wants, and buying “impulse” items only with cash Quantify reduced expenses during reconciliation by the 5th of each month
Invest the money saved above Split the savings between RRSP and mortgage reduction        
HEALTH/FITNESS – Hike the Kungsleden in Sweden with family
Exercise and stretching 4X/week Minimum of 45 minutes cardio and 10 minutes of stretching 4X/week
RELATIONAL – Commitment to Invest in Meaningful Relationships
Nurture relationship with spouse “Date” my spouse 2x/month
Nurture relationship with kids and grand kids Connect with my kids and grandkids weekly
SPIRITUAL – Commitment to Lifelong Spiritual Growth
Dedicated time for meditation 5x/week
LEARNING – Commitment to Lifelong Learning
Personal learning Read 1 non-fiction book per month
Group Learning Attend 2 Conferences/year
LEGACY – Lifelong Commitment to Supporting my Chosen Communities
Support my industry As Past President of ACSESS, act as Chair of Ethics Committee.
Support my Alma Mater Continue my role as Past President of RMC Club of Canada
Support my Faith Causes Continue to lead a LeaderImpact Group        


I am encouraged by the words of Walt Disney – “If you can dream it, you can do it”.  BRING IT ON, 2020!

Bruce McAlpine is President of Fulcrum Search Science Inc., a Toronto-based executive search firm solving Mission-Critical hiring challenges throughout North America, and Past President of the Association of Canadian Search, Employment & Staffing Services.  Contacts: or 416.779.8505