It’s a new year. Guess what, you made it to this year and the stakes are very high for you this year. You probably have some “resolutions” for the new year, I guess.
What are your resolutions for the new year? What are those things you wish to see happen in your life this year? Is it to lose weight, become a millionaire, own a house, start a new business?
Well, all that is great. However, it is not just about having resolutions. It is not even about entering a new year. All that may matter, but not much. What really matters more than anything is to have a plan to conquer the new year and following through. Thus, I am talking about having goals for the year and hitting them.
Resolution Vs. Goal:
Resolution is simply a statement of intent, or a vow. It usually comes with some form of declaration of a will with no clear means of following through with it. For instance, “I will cut back on fast food this year” is a resolution.
The problem with a resolution is that, though it begins from some level of willingness and determination from a very early part of the year, most of one’s resolutions are completely forgotten or almost “untouched” by February.
By middle of the year, most resolutions still remain what they are – promises and wishes.
So, why don’t people follow through with their resolutions? It’s simple. There is no plan or “line of action” attached to a resolution to ensure that it’s followed through. Instead what we need are goals.
A goal is simply a result one is attempting or seeking to achieve. Unlike a resolution, a goal starts with the end in mind as well as some clarity in achieving that desired end. For instance, “I will eat one fast food a day for the next 12 months” is a goal.
The good thing about having a goal is that, when done well, it is very achievable because it is clear on the result needed and how to achieve it.
Characteristics Of A Real Goal:
For a goal to qualify as a good or real goal, it should be:
* Specific or Clear: What exactly is needed to be done. Example: Lose 10 Lbs not “lose weight”.
* Measurable: How will progress be measured? Example: monthly weight measurements.
* Achievable: Do you have what it may require to achieve this goal?
* Realistic: Can it be possible? Example: becoming 6 ft tall when you are 5.5ft seems real than becoming 8ft tall when you are 3ft.
* Time-bound: When must this be done? Example: daily or next 12 weeks, not “soon”.
Inasmuch as I call the above, “characteristics of a real goal”, it does not necessarily mean every goal must have the points outlined above. In fact, some goals may need even more characteristics though they may mean something similar to those above.
However, irrespective of what your goal is, it should have some elements that make it “make sense” or real.
New Year And Getting Ahead:
Every new year comes with new aspirations. Entering a new year almost looks like opening a fresh page of a book. It comes with some sense of joy and hope for the better. A hope that things are going to be better this time. It is an opportunity to make things right. In fact, it is an opportunity to get ahead.
So, how do you get ahead?
Well, you get ahead by setting the right goals and hitting them.
Setting And Hitting Your Goals:
The success of every attainable goal lies on three branches:
* Why: What are your core values? Goals that are in line with your core values are much easier to follow through.
* How: What are the processes or strategies to use to achieve your goals?
* What: Breaking goals down to even further basic habits makes following through easier. This is the most important aspect.
- List your core values. Identify your top 3 – 5 core values.
- Set up to 5 goals in line with each core value. For instance, if “fitness” or “good health” is a core value, you could list daily workouts as a goal under what you value which is fitness or good health.
- You may come up with about 15 goals or more depending the number of core values and goals identified. Choose your top “must-do” 5 goals out of all the listed goals.
- Focus solely on the selected goals and discard the remaining “good enough” goals. You want to get the most important and critical goals achieved first without other goals getting in the way.
- Break these 5 goals into simple habits you can do daily. For instance, if daily workouts is on the list, break it down to sleeping early, waking early, placing running shoes next to your bed every night, setting alarms for workouts, etc.
Once you get consistent with these much smaller goals or habits, you will be indirectly moving towards your big goal of daily workouts without seeing it as difficult.
- Ensure you have the right environment for your new habits. To mould out the best habits, you want to eliminate all forms of distractions and “bad habits” that will make forming new “healthy” habits difficult as much as possible.
- Set up your tools and resources to measure daily progress. For instance, you may want to do a daily report on how your day went or simply cross-out days that you followed through all your goals on your calendar.
8. Appraise and repeat for any other goals.
Bringing it all together, it is important to know that inasmuch as goals are essential, they are not to be treated as just the expected end. Instead, setting and hitting your goals require a lot of focus and intentional progress no matter how small the step may be. Most importantly, the goals we set should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound). Good luck!