The beginning of a new calendar year is often a period of reflection, which makes it a fantastic time for goal setting. Without goals, most of us lack focus and direction. By calling out what you want to accomplish, making a manageable action plan and holding yourself accountable, you can take control of your life. Here are some successful tips I’ve picked up to make goal setting easy and effective.
Best tips for goal setting
Start by dreaming big. Where would you like to see yourself a year from now, or even five years down the line? The key is not to limit yourself. Consider what projects really excite you and what it might look like at the next level. Success is always premeditated, after all.
Keep your thinking cap on and take a look back to analyze what you’ve been doing and how you spend your days. How much effort do you put into what’s important to you? Reflect on what’s worked, what hasn’t and figure out some options that could net you different results.
You’ll probably only need to adjust a portion of your activities, so list them all out under the headings: maintain, improve and change. Once you have an understanding of which actions produced results and those that didn’t, you can begin to think about what habits might be incorporated into your daily routine to help execute your vision.
People who know where they’re going and how they intend to get there are more likely to reach their destination than those without a roadmap. Try to make each goal as actionable as possible. Think of goals as your end destination and these actionable items as the fuel that keeps you moving in the right direction. Check out this great read on the importance of setting up systems.
Small actions consistently applied can result in huge changes over time. Sadly, most of us want a quick turn around and expect to see massive results within a short span of time. What happens next? Cue feelings of discouragement followed by procrastination when what you’ve aspired to doesn’t magically appear.
People are more likely to reach their goals when they switch from a short term gain mentality to focusing on consistent actions that produce long term results. The key is to set manageable tasks for yourself and build these into your daily habits.
Best ways to track progress
You can set goals all day long, but they won’t be nearly as effective if you’re not measuring them. To ensure consistency, commit to a time when you can analyze your results and determine whether the activities are producing the intended outcome. Think of the easiest way you’ll be able to track your progress. I do this in my dairy every few months.
How to hold yourself accountable
How often you review your goals is often the deciding factor when it comes to reaching them. Because every goal is different, when you need to check in will also vary. For example, if your goal is run a 10k by Easter, you’ll need to asses that progress more often than you would for a goal of taking a taking a family holiday.
Also critical is knowing what it takes for you to be held accountable. Some folks do just fine reviewing their progress on their own or with accountability partners. Those who respond better to a punitive approach might declare their intentions on StickK, a web site where people publicly set goals and put money on the line. If you don’t succeed, StickK sends your hard earned cash to an organization you can’t stand.
Making measurable goals
Perhaps of upmost importance is making sure your goals are personable. A common mistake is setting a goal that’s not your own, but what someone else hopes to achieve. Your goals need to be in line with who you are and your personal values, not what somebody else thinks you should achieve.
What to do when you get off track
Will you get off track? Probably. Most of us do, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. Success hinges on having a solid plan, letting goal of guilt and getting back on track. So expect that you will veer off course at some point. To avoid total derailment, know what action steps will bring you back in alignment as quickly as possible.
Do you set goals? What are your intentions for 2015?