Have you been thinking about your New Year’s resolutions? Are you ready to have your best year yet? Traditionally the new year is a time for new beginnings. Many people write a list of goals they have for the new year. However, sometimes getting clear on what matters most to you can be difficult. Further, you find that every time you try to set goals you end up giving up after a few months as you lose your motivation. For example, perhaps you want to pursue a health and fitness goal so you decide you will join a gym and eat healthy. While this sounds great in theory there are several issues with this goal which will likely lead to failure. This is not because it can’t be accomplished, but rather because the goal is poorly designed. See my tips for proper goal setting so that you can set and accomplish your goals this year!
Step One: Identify your goals
Grab a piece of paper and pencil and free associate! Write down whatever comes to mind thinking about what you would like to accomplish this year. This is a great way to generate the basic creative juices and get you excited about the things you want to accomplish.
Correct: get fit, eat healthy, stop smoking, improve work performance, make new friends
Incorrect: no wrong way to generate ideas here!
Step Two: Theme your goals
Keep out that pencil and paper! Now it’s time to take those ideas you jotted down and convert them into larger themes to organize your goals. Theming your goals will keep you organized and on track. If you get too specific in your theme it will be harder to organize your goals.
Correct: Health and Fitness, Work, Relationships
Incorrect: Go to the gym, Get better at work, lose weight
Step three: Break down your goals
Now that you have your theme, you need to get specific. This is the most important part of your goals. If you don’t break down your goals into smaller attainable goals, you will set yourself up to fail. They should be specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, and have a timeframe attached to them. This is also known as S.M.A.R.T goal setting!!
Correct: Theme: Health and Fitness
Goal: Get in shape
Sub-goal: Research fitness types, Register with gym, Attend two times a week for six months and then increase to three times a week
Incorrect: Theme: Get fit
Goal: Go to gym, Become a professional runner
Goal setting is meant to be a gradual process and can take some time to accomplish. Don’t rush. It is better to set simple, short term and long term goals. You should review your goals often to ensure you are on track and staying motivated. As you begin to check these off throughout the year you will find a sense of pride and happiness. If they are too easy you will check them off and have nothing to look forward to the rest of the year. If they are too long and complicated you will lose motivation feeling like they are impossible to reach. The practice of goal-setting is not only psychologically healthy but helpful to our self pursuit of happiness.
I encourage you to invest in a notebook that you can use for your goal-setting journey. Now is the time to invest in your life and reflect on your past to ensure a fulfilled future. You are worth it, invest in your personal success!