With the end of the year quickly approaching, many of us are ramping up for holiday parties or making travel plans to sit fire-side with loved ones. As we reflect on the year just passed, and look to the future, many of us are also considering options for betterment. Yes, it’s New Year’s Resolution time; the time of the year where everyone decides that they have the willpower to give up chocolate completely. Fun fact: did you know that only 8% of us achieve our New Year’s goals? We can all probably do a bit better than that. but it can be hard to find the right goals and the right motivation.
Setting goals is like designing your future, or what you want your future to look like. If done properly and followed through with, it can give your life inspiration, objective and purpose. Many experts also say that goal-setting is an important component of success. Aim unrealistically high, and you will feel discouraged, overwhelmed, and may not meet your aims. Aim too low, and you won’t feel motivated enough.
Why is it important to set goals?
Goals help to cut out the noise of everyday life to stay on the track of self-improvement. It’s easy to forget about your intentions when you’re busy with life and lose sight of what you’re aiming towards. Goal setting is important in every aspect of your life, whether you’re starting a business or just trying to juggle your personal life and career. Goal setting provides structure and direction – it is easier to stuck to plan once the steps to getting there are in place.
How to set strategic goals
Since the dawn of self-help books, there have been different schools of thought on how to most effectively set goals. With the SMART system, goals help us keep the focus on our vision:
Specific – Define your goals. They should be clear, focused and articulate.
Measurable – Find out where your goals are quantifiable, so that you can measure your success. Saying you want to exercise more isn’t enough – give yourself a number of hours in a week.
Attainable – Be realistic. Start small and work your way to bigger goals.
Result-oriented – Results are what we’re here for, so make sure there’s an end-point.
Time-framed – Give yourself a reasonable time frame for the completion of your goal.
A good way to start this exercise is to evaluate where you are now. Review your life and your intentions moving forward. Take into account everything you’ve achieved, as well as the places you’ve fallen short, and decide where you want to go. This should give you clarity, and a good foundation with which to build your goals.
5 tips for goal-setting exercises:
- Be as detailed about your goals as possible- outline the “what, why, where, when, and how” of your goals.
- Always write down your goals. Studies show you’re 42% more likely to hold yourself accountable and achieve them.
- Simplify them. Break down big projects into small, manageable steps, and focus on one small step at a time.
- Set milestones and reward yourself for the achievements. When you celebrate even the small wins, your journey towards your goals will be a positive one.
- Find an “Accountabilibuddy!” Friends can help you stay on track and remind you why you’re reaching this goal in the first place.
Prioritisation sounds like a simple principle, but many of us find it the trickiest part to completing a task. The process of identifying the most difficult or pressing aspect of a task, and then creating a chronological list of importance, is the most important step in breaking down your problem and addressing it. Without prioritization, the actions you need to take to accomplish your goals can get confusing and fail to address our goals strategically.
Feedback is an essential part of achieving your goals. It allows you to see the weakness in your goals, and adjust them accordingly. A Todd Herman, a NY based high-performance coach, believes in planning only 90 days ahead. “When you’re able to get feedback quickly on the work that you’re doing, you learn faster, grow faster and make better decisions” says Todd. “[This] leads to leaps in revenue, control of your business, and a repeatable, scalable approach to growing your business.”
Success doesn’t’ happen overnight- it is a result of persistent action and personal growth. It requires you to step out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself. But once you achieve a goal you thought would be impossible, you’ll have expanded your limit. Don’t just look at your goal and feel dissatisfied if you didn’t get to achieve it in the time frame you set for yourself – have a look at progress you’ve made along the way and how much closer this has taken you to achieving your goal. In the words of Zig Ziglar:
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
Now go get a cup of hot coffee, and spend a few minutes today to visualize and write down what success story you’ll be telling in 2018!