I've always been a list person. I make a list of things to get done for the month, for the week and for the day. I have a continual, revolving grocery list on my refrigerator. I make a list of New Year's resolutions, a Christmas list and a list of places I'd like to take a vacation. Oh - the bucket list? Of course I've got that.

A list defines the steps it takes to conquer a bigger goal. Let's take a grocery list, for example. Turns out me and my children need to eat this week. So, it would behoove me to have some meals planned and all the items to make the meals purchased for the week. Thus the list begins. Monday: lasagna, Tuesday: sloppy joes, etc. To plan accordingly, I add cottage cheese, hamburger buns and 2 lbs of hamburger to the grocery list.

Making a list is simply a step in order to reach a goal. A goal is simply a series of steps broken down from large to small, or from "in general" to "specific details."

So why am I talking about grocery lists? Simple answer: What you do in your personal life is a good beginning and example of your professional life.

Case in point. At the beginning of a New Year, I was leading a "This Year's Goals" meeting. I began the meeting by asking a group of about 25 architects, "How many of you set some New Year's resolutions?" Guess how many raised their hands? That's right - zero!

This is the moment where I thought to myself, "this is all starting to make more sense." {enter laughter}

How on earth can you be successful if you don't know where you're going and how on earth can you find where you are going without a plan to get there?

This all boils down to Goal Setting 101. An integral component of personal and professional success. To me, not setting goals is like trying to boil water without turning the burners on. Setting goals is the heat that makes the water boil, for goodness sakes.

As we approach the new year, please take some time to think about your personal goals. When you are done with that, write down your professional goals. Then start thinking about the steps you need to take each month, each week and each day to reach those goals.

I don't know about you but I feel a list coming on; along with some inspirational holiday music. "He's making a list. Checking it twice. Gonna find out whose naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town."

Lisa Shackelford is the President of DASH Marketing LLC, headquartered in Lee’s Summit, MO. and the Advertising Director for MetroWIre Media LLC. You may contact her at

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