It’s hard to believe that in a few weeks we will be ringing in a whole new year. And with this comes new goals, new resolutions and new hopes for the upcoming year. There’s something refreshing about having a new beginning where we can set new limits for ourselves.
You may have heard this saying, “A goal without a plan is just a wish” by
We all make goals, whether in our mind or write them on paper from time to time in our lives. No doubt the majority of us make them around the start of a new year, when it seems like a new beginning and we can start things fresh. Maybe our goal is to lose some weight, save some money, get a new job, or any number of things.
When we don’t have goals, we don’t have any direction or focus. So how can we make goals and then follow them through to become a reality?
First things first, setting goals starts with the process of considering what exactly it is that you want to achieve, then involves some well-defined steps on how you will accomplish them and ultimately a lot of hard work to achieve them.
Step 1 – Motivation is key
Set goals that motivate you. If you set a goal that is one that someone else thinks you should do, but you don’t, it’s not likely going to happen. For instance if you had a goal of quitting smoking but is just something that your partner or friend wants you to do and you don’t, it’s not enough motivation to make you want to do it, right? Set goals based on things you want to do and that you are passionate about. If you have little interest in the goal, the outcome will not be a success. Try writing down “why” you want to achieve this goal. This helps in showing you the importance of reaching it and encourages you to do so.
Step 2 – Be SMART About Goals
Have you ever heard of the SMART system for goals? If you google it you will come up with countless variations – many of them based on different areas of business and life – but it’s designed in a way to foster a clear understanding of our goals.
The gist of it is:
- Time Bound
Specific – Be detailed with your goal. Define the actual goal and exactly where you want to end up with it. Your goals should be specific enough to show you the way.
Measurable – How will you know that you have achieved this goal? Set out specific dates so you can measure your progress. Without a way to measure your success you won’t really know how to gauge your success. If your goal is to save money, how do you know at what amount you’ve reached your goal? A way to measure it might be by saying that in 1 month you want to save $125, by 6 months you want to save $800, by 1 year you want it to be $2000.
Attainable– Be sure that this is something that is possible to achieve. Setting goals that you have no hope of achieving with only set you up for failure and disappointment. If you want to save money, maybe saying that you want to save $50,000 in one year but you are currently living paycheck to paycheck may not be a reasonable goal to set. On the contrary, you don’t want to set goals that are too easy to attain either so that you feel bored or don’t challenge you enough.
Relevant– They should be something that pertains to the way you want your life/career/situation to be in that it aligns with broader goals. Keeping goals aligned with this also keeps your focus in tune with achieving these goals. Determine why this result is important to you and to achieve.
Time Bound – Goals needs deadlines, otherwise you will lose interest and/or the goal may never be attained. Deadlines give us a sense of urgency and a commitment to have it done on time.
Step 3 – Put it in writing
Writing things down makes things tangible, and less likely something you will forget. It also gives you a space to configure your thoughts and be familiar with the goals you write down.
You might even want to incorporate your goals into your to-do list ensuring that you are taking small steps to achieve your goals. This way they are also forefront in your day.
I like to post my personal fitness goals where I can remind myself of them every day. So I put them on the fridge. Place yours in spots where they will be a daily reminder.
Grab my FREE Printable Goal Worksheets here.
Step 4 – Plan of Action
Okay, so you’ve got the goals. Now what? This is the part where you detail just how you will achieve your goals. What do you have to do to begin the process? Do you have the skills/tools required to do it? If not, how will you get them? Basically, this is where you list the tasks that you need in order to meet an objective. Action plans give you a framework so you can think about how you will complete a project in order so that you don’t miss any important steps.
Step 5 – Keep at it
Setting and achieving goals is a continuous thing, not just a way to accomplish one thing and be done with it. Goals are something we will make, set and achieve our entire lives. There’s bound to be times when it’s not easy to stay on track so don’t be afraid to build in a reward system for yourself when you reach certain goals.