Oh, boy! Time is winding down and we're just a few days away before 2016 closes upon us. And this season is also the perfect time t...
Forget New Year's Resolutions and Start Setting Goals Effectively
Well, honestly, I am not a good goal setter and I stopped believing in making New Year's resolutions since it hasn't worked for me for several years. Yeah, that stuff stinks, for me! And that would perhaps explain why it seems like I've done so many things, yet, I'm not even an inch closer to my "life goals". Do you also get that feeling?
But when I started blogging (early this year), I'm noticing that I became a fan of setting daily and weekly goals and believe me, checking off that box on my to-do list is totally satisfying. Blogging has definitely transformed me. If you've read this, I wrote a bit about how blogging has charged me up with positive vibes. It's like all the positive energy is eating me up whole! =)
Most of us would think (hah! including me) that it's easy to set goals. And what's worst is that we make almost the same goals year after year in hopes of getting different results. But high achievers (they're the serious goal setters) don't just set goals--they set c o n c r e t e goals and pursue it!
Why do we need to set goals?
There are actually tons of answers to this question but I guess, the most sensible one is that we don't own our lives--we only got one shot at it. Time is not on our side to waste precious hours on something that won't make you live a life you really want. Setting goals makes our life in motion towards that path that we hope to take down the road.
If you want to retire early, set goals and actionable steps that will help you achieve an early and happy retirement.
If you want to travel the world with your family, then do things that will make that big dream happen.
If you want to lose weight, put up a concrete action plan to trim down.
Wasted time is definitely a wasted opportunity. I've learned it the hard way and now I have lessons to take with me to start fresh. I'm so glad I've stumbled on Michael Hyatt's blog (you should definitely check out his podcasts if you're into personal development. An author of numerous best-selling books, former CEO and now a life coach. He's the man!). And just recently, I've attended one of his webinars on how to set goals effectively and take control of 2017. Guess what, I'm all pumped up now that I've learned how to do it efficiently.
It was an inspiring one and truly an eye-opener especially for those like me who never have a success in setting and crushing yearly goals. Indeed, we may not be able to control everything in our life, but we have the power to make those controllable factors work for us. We just need a strategy to get into it. So, I'm sharing what I've learned and together let's make 2017 our best year ever!
How To Effectively Set Goals For The New Year?
1. Assess your current year. Before you effectively lay out concrete goals for next year, it's also appropriate to assess your current year. You can start by listing your wins/accomplishments and what made you achieve those. This will enable you to build a system that is "quit-proof" since it has already proven to work basing on your specific accomplished goal.
You also need to write down your setbacks or what didn't work and how would you like to approach it instead this time. These failures are your motivation to work harder and smarter to achieve your goals. If it failed the first time, tweak it and relaunch. Remember, if it hasn't worked out yet, then it's not yet the end.
2. Visualize your lifelong dream. What's your end goal? What is that one thing that you really want and be deeply disappointed not to have/achieve? What matters most to you? Dig deeper and once you determine that lifelong dream, then write it down. Goals are easier to set this way when you really know what you are pursuing.
For a stay-at-home-mom like me who lives on a paycheck-to-paycheck scheme, a vision could be something like "to be financially independent". Pretty broad, eh? So, we break it down into actionable goals to achieve that lifelong goal.
3. Set concrete goals. This is the part where most of us do it wrong. The first key point to remember is that our goals need to address all major aspect of life and not just one. We need to determine our priorities. You can come up with categories like this:
- Personal Development
But for me, I'd like to work on my top 5 priorities first for 2017. Keeping a longer list will pull your focus to various channels. Instead, focus on pursuing 3-5 goals per year and never chase it all at once. Instead, work on a goal or two per quarter. Don't be too hard on yourself!
Now you have mapped out your top priorities, you need to set strong goals that are related to your listed priorities.
How should I state my goals?
1. Strong goals must be written down. Research shows that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down since it gives you clarity on what you are pursuing.
2. Strong goals should be specific. Going back to that lifelong goal example of being "financially independent", normally we would come up with a goal like "increase business' revenue". Eeek, wrong! Strong goals should be specific. So instead, go for "line up 5 clients for consultation". The second one is specific and more actionable. The same goes if you just write "lose weight" as your new year goal. Instead, make it "lose 40 pounds by the end of the year". See the difference?
3. Strong goals must be measurable. According to a study published by Harvard Business Review, the most significant motivation for us to reach those goals is seeing the progress. But how will you track your progress if you can't measure it? You simply can't manage what you can't measure. Use percentage (%) or numbers to measure your goal. Say, "save up a total of $600 by March".
4. Strong goals have deadlines. Yes, they do! Setting up deadlines to our goals signals urgency which helps us prioritize our daily tasks. Here's a better view on how you should write goals effectively.
4. Measure your progress. Sad to say, but I'm not consistent on this part. Do you get that feeling when you seem to be always busy thinking that you're moving forward but in reality, you're still going nowhere? I feel you.
For us to be able to track down our progress, our written goal should be posted somewhere that we can visibly see throughout the day. This will remind us how close are we reaching those goals. I have mine on a calendar editorial board right in front of my home/office desk and in my planner's cover. And I'm planning to post them as well on the fridge's door. Keep them visible!
If you're aiming for an increase in revenue in your business, track down the numbers monthly. With my blog, I recently keep a Google spreadsheet to track down all the numbers to determine my blog's growth. Or if you want the old school style, you can do so on a notebook. Keep a handy dandy notebook with your goals and your weekly/monthly progress until you reach 'em. Checking off that box on your list gives off that satisfying feeling. Promise! You should try doing it even on your daily to-do checklist.
As a recap, to effectively set your new year's goals, you should:
Assess current year
Visualize your lifelong dream
Set concrete goals basing on your priorities
Measure your progress
In life, there are indeed factors that we can't control but here's the good news--- there are also things that you can control! Draw strength from these controllable factors and get a life you really want. If you're afraid to do it, then do it scared! Take a leap of faith and make it a habit to pursue that dream life. Remember: "Everything you want is on the other side of the fear. So do it instead!"
Now that you (and I know how) to effectively set goals, I do hope we can all claim 2017 to be our best year ever. See you at the top my friends!