It’s the beginning of the year and an exciting time for those who want to make positive changes in their lives. Many people feel a new year gives them a chance at a fresh start or a new beginning. You have probably heard family and friends proclaiming their New Year’s Resolutions, or you might have made some resolutions yourself.
It’s great to have resolutions to improve yourself and quality of life. However, simply voicing your desires or promising yourself to do something, will not necessary keep you motivated to follow through on those promises. It is important to actively set specific goals and create a plan to achieve those goals.
Here are six helpful tips to planning and achieving your goals this year:
1. Leave last year’s disappointments behind
It’s difficult to feel motivated for the new year when you are still stuck on last year’s failures and disappointments. There may have been goals that you set for yourself last year, but did not accomplish. You may feel that you slacked and wasted a lot of time last year, which could have very well been the case. However, dwelling on unaccomplished goals and beating yourself up is not going to help you this year.
Pursuing your dreams is a process that involves trying, failing, and picking yourself up again. It’s about learning from your past mistakes and trying not to repeat them. It is important to leave the past behind and give yourself permission to start all over again. Make up in your mind that you will put your best foot forward this year.
2. Put your goals in writing
Writing your goals is not optional: It is an absolute necessity. Brian Tracey, motivational speaker, author, and entrepreneur stated, “People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine.” Writing your goals brings clarity, focus, and direction. It helps you to prioritize and bring your full attention to the things you want to achieve.
It also allows you to see your progress or lack thereof. Writing goals does not have to be anything elaborate for it to be effective. You can simply write your goals on a sheet of paper or type them out in a word document or spreadsheet. I like using Google Drive, which is a great tool for storing personal documents.
- Organize your goals – It is helpful to organize your goals by categories. Some example categories are health, finances, career, spiritual, relationships, and personal. You might have goals for several categories or just a few of them.
- Give yourself a deadline – Putting a deadline to your goals will give you more urgency to pursue them. In addition, setting deadlines will also help you prioritize your goals.There are going to be some goals you want to achieve within the first three months of the year. Other goals you might simply want to attain before the end of the year.
3. Look at your goals on a regular basis
Once you’ve written your goals, it is important to review them often. This is important, as it will keep you focused on what you want accomplish. Life can become busy and it is easy to let your list of goals sit on the sideline without giving notice to them.
One way to look at your goals everyday is to find a spot in your home to post them. You might opt to keep your goals in your wallet or purse. You can also store your goals using an app on your phone or tablet.
There is really no right or wrong way to do this. What’s most important is not to allow too much time to go by without looking at your goals.
4. Do something towards fulfilling your goals each day
You want to make sure to take daily steps towards accomplishing your goals, no matter how small the steps. If you are trying to start a business, an action step could be be emailing a business mentor, writing your mission statement, or brainstorming ideas.
If your goal is to lose weight, an action step could be planning your meals or doing research on weight loss. Performing daily actions steps is not done to rush your efforts, but to develop consistency.
5. Check off completed goals…but don’t take them off the list.
As pointed out earlier, one of the benefits of writing your goals is that it will help you track your progress. When you accomplish your goals, it is important that you don’t delete them from the list. These completed goals will act as positive feedback and will motivate you to keep going. Simply write a check mark or the word, “Done,” next to your goal.
6. Find a Goal Buddy
Having a goal buddy is optional, but greatly increases your likelihood of attaining your goals. A goal buddy is someone with whom you share your goals and vice versa. In my opinion, the four main benefits for having a goal buddy are: accountability, support, encouragement, and celebration.
It is a good idea to follow up with your goal buddy, weekly or monthly, to discuss your progress. It is important that you and your goal buddy use this time not to criticize each other, but to motivate and encourage one another. Your goal buddy will be someone in your corner who believes in you and will celebrate your success.
Setting clear goals for the new year greatly increases your likelihood of achieving them. If you have not already done so, take some time today to think about what you want to accomplish this year. Write out your goals and be sure to utilize these tips for success.
Have you written out your goals for this year? What has been your experience with goal-setting and what were the benefits? Leave your comment below.