With only a few days left before bidding 2018 farewell, have you given any thought to your New Year goals? Many of us start a new year with the best intentions to effect change but we often fail miserably. One of the main reasons this happens is setting unachievable goals or putting too much unnecessary pressure on ourselves.
Let’s face it, change is difficult and we’re not talking about painting a room baby blue instead of cream. Many New Year goals involve losing weight, quit smoking, getting a better job or making more of an effort to see certain people. Whatever your goals are for 2019, make sure they are small and achievable. Perhaps we can help prepare you for a better 2019 with some simple, yet effective goal setting tips.
How To Set New Year Goals
Whether its life or business, setting goals lead to success. Without a plan or an achievable goal people lack the necessary focus and direction to realistically meet their own expectations. Not only does goal setting enable you to dictate the direction your life takes but it also provides a benchmark to determine if you are in fact succeeding.
If you want to achieve your New Year goals, you must know how to set them properly. You can’t simply say “I want” and then expect everything to fall into place. Setting goals is a process that involves careful consideration of exactly what you want to achieve. Nothing in life is easy and accomplishing your New Year goals will require hard work to make it happen.
Remember, you can tackle goals in stages, beginning with baby steps and increasing in difficulty as you get used to aspects of the change. This can make goals seem far more realistic especially in the long-term. Everything starts with setting SMART goals that will motivate you.
Setting SMART Goals
For those who don’t know much about SMART goals, here is a simple breakdown. It applies to personal or business goals and stands for Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.
Goals must be simple but well-defined as unclear or generalised goals won’t provide the required direction. You need goals that will help show you the way and make it as easy as possible to achieve.
You must set measurable goals and include specific data points to measure your level of success. This could be dates, times or amounts among others. If you only say you want to reduce unnecessary spending, how will you know when you’ve achieved your goal? Make it measurable like 5% less in the first six months or 10% over a two-year period. This also ties in to setting goals with a deadline. Without a means or deadline in place to measure success, you will miss out on the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment, knowing you’ve achieved your goal.
Goals are supposed to be attainable otherwise, what’s the point? Make sure whatever you set out to do is achievable. If you don’t, you run the risk of a demoralising defeat and possible lose all the confidence you initially had. While achievable goals are important, don’t set New Year goals that are too easy either. A true sense of accomplishment only comes from hard work and actually achieving something you felt was difficult. The best possible balance is to set realistic but challenging goals.
It almost goes without saying that goals should be relevant to the direction you want to go. Keeping your goals relevant to your situation will help you focus on getting ahead and what you really want. Random and inconsistent goals will only waste your time with nothing to show for it.
Set Goals That Will Motivate You
Setting goals for yourself must motivate you which means making sure they are important to you with an added value to achieving them. Without showing any real interest in the outcome you are much less likely to put in the required effort to make it happen. Motivation is key to achieving goals, personal or otherwise.
Here are a few examples of how to break goals into bite sized chunks which are easier to manage and more likely to keep you motivated.
- Instead of stating you want to lose 2 stone, rather break it down into losing 2lbs each month
- Smoking is another prime example as going “cold turkey” often fails. Instead, tell yourself, “I will not smoke for 2 hours, then 3 and then 4”. Before you know it, you’ve gone a whole day without smoking
- In terms of exercising, don’t try to run 2 miles off the bat if you’ve never run before or haven’t done so in a long time. Rather start with a walk and gradually build up to a brisk walk, jog and then run
- If you’re planning on decluttering or a home improvement project, organise your house one room at a time. Instead of thinking about ALL your household content, break it into smaller areas and get started
Wouldn’t you agree that these broken down goals seem far more achievable and realistic? Applying this to whatever goals you set will help you in the right direction.
Putting New Year Goals Into Writing
We’ve all heard about “dream boards” and how effective it is to put things in writing. It’s almost as writing down a goal makes it more realistic and tangible. Putting goals down on paper and placing it somewhere visible means you can’t forget about it. Good spots around the house are walls, mirrors, next to your computer screen or the refrigerator.
Also remember to use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.” These seemingly small and subtle word changes are surprisingly powerful as it shows intent and you can almost feel and see yourself doing it.
Last, but certainly not the least, prepare an action plan and stick with it. Many of us solely focus on the end-goal and while it’s obviously important, so are the steps needed in-between. Write out the individual steps and cross each one off as you complete it. Without even realising, you’re making great progress towards reaching your goals.
Don’t let New Year goals and resolutions get the better of you. Keep it short, simple, achievable and within a realistic timeframe and you will be successful. What are your top three New Year resolutions for 2019?
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