With the New Year upon us and everyone thinking about new years resolutions, why not take some time to think about goals for the year too.
The purpose of effective goal setting is to achieve what you want in life in a successful, focused and decisive manner by taking the right actions in a lesser time frame.
Who doesn’t want to achieve more in less time, yet many of us abandon our goals before we accomplish them. Why is that?
Some of the reasons include: lack of confidence, not having a workable plan for achieving them, being unrealistic by expecting too much too soon, fear of failure, and lastly, putting too much pressure on ourselves to accomplish them.
Luckily there are strategies and behaviors we can adopt for successfully setting and achieving goals.
How do you start?
Know that you deserve success and achievement.
Before beginning the process of setting goals, know that you deserve success and that it is achievable for anyone who puts their mind to it. You must believe you can do what you set out to do and that you possess the talents and abilities for doing it. Unless you begin with this crucial premise, your efforts will be thwarted and you will fall short of accomplishing what you want.
Determine what you want.
One of the biggest problems people have in setting goals effectively is not knowing what they really want. Lacking a clear concept of what you want in life makes it difficult to proceed. The one thing all successful people have in common is that they are extremely focused and intensely goal oriented. They know what they want and they understand it takes setting goals to achieve it. A good way to begin the process is to take the time to write down the goals most meaningful to you and then list what you would need to do accomplish them. To figure this out you can look at the ‘big picture’ of your life. Start a journal or workbook and write down for yourself the answers to some of these important questions:
- Do I want to be in the best of health and what will it take to get there?
- What do I want to achieve in my career?
- What kind of family life do I want?
- What kind of lifestyle do I want today and in the future?
- How do I see myself in 5, 10 or 20 years from now?
As an example, under the goal of maintaining good health, you can jot down: exercise 3-4 times a week, eat a balanced diet of protein, fruits and vegetables, get 7-8 hours of sleep etc.
For where you want to be in 5 years, you might include: finish college degree; be earning an income of x amount of pounds; have a serious personal relationship (or avoid having a serious relationship until career is established).
Plan, organize and prioritize your goals in smaller, manageable chunks.
If you look at everything you want to achieve all at once, you might find it daunting and overwhelming, so it’s best to organize and prioritize your goals. Instead, devise a workable plan for each item you want to accomplish. You know that your health goals need to be ongoing ones, so establish a daily routine or agenda that you can keep up on a regular basis. For a career goals, categorize them in monthly, quarterly or yearly chunks. List points, or plan the actions required to attain a particular point in your career. This may include taking the odd supplemental course, doing extra reading, or volunteering in the community in order to get exposure and experience. Since careers take time and effort to build, planning and organizing your moves makes good sense.
Review, update and revise.
Review and update your goals on a regular basis to ensure they are still relevant to you. Doing so also keeps you on track and taking the appropriate steps and actions. If some of your strategies aren’t working, fine tune them, or devise new ones. Likewise, figure out which obstacles and distractions are getting in your way and determine what you need to do to overcome them. We all know there will be setbacks and bumps in the road along the way to achieving our goals, but we need not let them hinder or take us off course. Revise and adjust the game plan where, and when, you need to.
Stay focused and motivated.
Staying focused and motivated is probably one of the hardest things to do when setting goals. It is common to periodically fall off the wagon however, it is essential to get back on track as soon as possible.
A great tool for keeping you focused is the journal or workbook you’ve been maintaining. Go over it regularly as a reference point and to remind yourself what you want to accomplish. Set up routines or habits that will ensure you stay on track. For example – do your exercises at the same time each day; drink your protein shake first thing in the morning.
Other helpful techniques for staying motivated include the use of relevant affirmations and visualization. Many successful people, especially athletes, swear by both. It’s important to ‘see’ yourself accomplishing a goal before you actually do. Positive affirmations implant positive thoughts into your subconscious, which in turn, prompt you to take the right actions to achieve your goals.
The Benefits of Setting Goals
- Give you the ‘big picture’ direction you want your life to take
- Help keep you organized and focused
- Build self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment
- Help you achieve success more efficiently and in less time
- Make the small day to day tasks more meaningful and purposeful
Goal setting, and certainly effective goal setting, has been a tried and true method for achieving success and accomplishment in life. Without it we would drift aimlessly and waste valuable time and effort in pursuits that lead nowhere. So start now! Decide which goals are most meaningful to you and devise a plan for achieving them.