It’s that time of year again–time to think about plans and goals for the coming year. By now, you’ve already read too many articles that tell you all about why you should skip new year’s resolutions and set big, hairy audacious goals instead. Whatever you want to call it: success plan, new year’s resolution, goal, strategy, there are definitely steps you can take that will help increase your chances for success in achieving your goals and making your success a reality.
I’m a goal setter and I always have been. Even since childhood I have always mapped out my life in the form of goals, so I have learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to goal setting. So, let me save you some time and frustration and share with you these seven easy steps that have helped me achieve my goals–they can help you achieve your big goals too.
Know Your Why
Think about the goals you’re setting. Having and knowing the “why” for your goal dramatically increases the likelihood of achieving it. It’s important that the why for your goal is YOUR why and not someone else’s. If you’re working on a goal that’s more important to someone else than it is to you, it ought to be their goal, not yours.
Define Your Goal
A moving target can be almost impossible to hit. So can a vague, nebulous goal that keeps changing. Define your goal. If it’s business growth, define what that goal looks like. Is it a percentage increase? Is it a dollar amount? Is it a number of clients or employees or locations? If you’re planning to get in shape or lose weight, how much weight do you want to lose? What does it mean to you to be “in shape?” The more clearly you define your goal, the more likely you are to achieve it.
It’s great to shoot for the moon, but if you don’t know how to build a rocket ship you aren’t going to get very far.
Big, hairy audacious goals are amazing when you achieve them. Go ahead and set that BIG goal, but make sure you plan what you need to achieve it. Setting a goal to pass the bar exam next year won’t help you much if you haven’t finished law school. Do your homework before you set your goal. Be realistic in your estimates of time and energy that you need to achieve your big goal. It’s ok to set a goal that will take you a year (or a lot more) to achieve. A goal should definitely stretch you; it should never break you.
Break It Down into Manageable Steps
Once you’ve figured out your goal, break it down step by step. You do this by determining what it’s going to take to achieve your goal and setting up the steps you need to take as mini-goals of their own. Just like you set your big goal, give each step a realistic time frame and give yourself a roadmap to success. By breaking it down, you can keep yourself motivated and moving forward without feeling so overwhelmed that you give up.
Despite your best efforts and planning, you may run into some roadblocks on your way to goal success. Recognize that you may have to make a detour, it may take you a little longer than you planned, or you may have to alter some of the steps to get to your goal. It’s ok if your goal changes while you’re achieving it. Life is like that. Flexibility in goal setting and goal achieving is a good thing.
Find a Motivator
It’s good to take someone along on your journey to that big goal. You don’t need to tell the whole world–and in fact, studies have shown that telling too many people about your goal is actually counterproductive. You are less likely to actually achieve it when you tell the whole world. Find just one trusted friend, advisor or coach to be your accountability partner and help you stay focused and on track.
Reward Your Progress
Celebrate your victories. Whether it’s completing your BIG goal or completing one of the steps, find a way to reward your progress. A little victory celebration is good to help mark your progress and give you a motivation boost to move on to the next step, whether it’s a step on the way to your big goal or a new big goal.
Have you set your big goal for next year? How can I help you get there? Leave me your thoughts, comments and questions below.
This is probably the BEST article on goals and achieving them that I have ready so far this year. I loved the part of knowing your why. It’s a key component that many leave out. Great key to include. I also agree with you that we need to be flexible and reevaluate as we go. My fave to achieving goals is rewarding myself along the way. I just recently his my 1/4 mark for my BIG weight loss goal. Needless to say, since I am a size smaller, I got some new clothes. Well worth it.
Thanks for sharing. I am going to be including my “whys” in my goals from here on out.
Thanks, Irish. So glad you enjoyed it. I really do think knowing the why is critical. Otherwise, it’s just a random goal and we’re not nearly as invested. Congrats on your progress–that shopping for some fun new clothes really is a boost, isn’t it? Can’t wait to hear how the rest of your journey goes–you’re well on your way!
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