The New Year often brings about a desire to make changes in your life, and that’s where serious goal-setting comes in. Here’s how to strategically set and achieve your goals in the New Year.
Set goals rather than resolutions
At one time or another, everybody has set a New Year’s resolution. Most people have also probably failed with their resolutions. Rather than wasting your focus on a New Year’s resolution that you probably won’t keep, try setting clearer goals.
What is the difference between the two?
The difference between a resolution and a goal is that a resolution is merely something you want to do or cease doing. Usually, it’s something like wanting to lose weight, or perhaps not drinking as much. They’re noble ideas, but they aren’t necessarily goals.
A goal, on the other hand, is something more specific that you want to achieve. You can plot a path towards a goal, and it is much more easily measurable.
Be S.M.A.R.T about your goals
When setting goals, try to consider the S.M.A.R.T model. This strategy suggests that all of your goals should be:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time-specific
For example, if you have a goal, make sure it fits into the S.M.A.R.T model. For example, a specific goal may be to find a new job. It’s measurable and achievable because you’ll know you’ve completed the goal when you have a new job. It’s realistic, and you can also set a timeframe for it – perhaps you want to be in a new job by 1 July.
Create a visual reminder
Goals can seem a lot more achievable if you have them written down somewhere. Whether you use a whiteboard at home or stick a piece of paper on your wall, it really doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you get a visual reminder of your goal every single day. It may seem like a small thing, but it can help keep you motivated even when you think things aren’t working out the way you hoped.
Set many small goals along the way
Remember, just because you’ve set an overall goal, that doesn’t mean you can’t break it up into smaller goals. Let’s use the new job example from before. The end goal is to walk into a new workplace for your first day. But along the way you may have several smaller goals you can achieve, such as:
- Create a new resume
- Apply for 3 jobs per week
- Attend a networking event each month
- Complete a training course related to your intended new career
These are all smaller goals that you can tick off along the way, and they’ll help achieve your overall goal.
Once you’ve got your smaller goals plotted out, don’t forget to prioritise them. Some may be more important than others. For example, you don’t want to apply for 3 new jobs each week with an outdated resume, so make that a priority. Generally, your smaller goals will have a pretty logical flow, but write them out in order of priority so that you can tick them off like a to-do list.
Celebrate the little wins
Also, as you tick off those little tasks, don’t forget to celebrate them along the way! Working towards a long-term goal can be exhausting, so it’s an extremely motivating thing to acknowledge and celebrate the smaller goals you achieve.
Importantly, make sure that your goals are your own. Even if you know of people who have similar goals, don’t compare yourself to them along the way. It can be disheartening if you see someone else reaching milestones faster than you, but don’t worry. Everybody’s situation is different and we all progress at a different speed. Focus on your own goals, and be happy for others as they achieve their own.
Review and update your goals regularly
Finally, make time to regularly review your goals and your progress. If you’ve got all of your priorities written out, set a date each month to sit down and see where you’re at. Some goals may change, or you may be able to break goals down to even smaller tasks. Checking in with your progress regularly helps keep you accountable, and also increases motivation.