And here we are, on the other side and ready to get cracking with our goals (many of which will have been broken by now!).
But let’s not be depressing and start with a positive mindset.
One of the things I love to do at the beginning of the year is to set some goals. Having said this, many of this past year’s targets flew out the window in March and some re-writing was swiftly done. That’s OK – goals need to be there to guide us, they’re not there to beat ourselves over the head with.
What would you like to put your energies towards this year? I love the phrase, ‘we often overestimate what we can achieve in a day, but underestimate what can be achieved in a year.’ This is so true – our days are pretty short, they’re full of competing priorities, and we may not get much time to pursue our bigger goals in any given day. But over a year, those bits and pieces of time add up and more can be realised in our lives than we would ever feel possible. Little by little, bit by bit, dreams come to life.
One of the problems with setting goals is that we can be a bit too broad or rather vague with our intentions. This is often to avoid disappointment but just serves to disempower us rather than motivate us.
Below I’m going to give you a few thoughts on how to goal-set for success
Start as broadly as you can – what is your word for the year? My two words for 2020 were FOCUS and YIELD (turned out to be very interesting – focus was to encourage me to channel my energies on the main things for the year and not get distracted by the wrong endeavours, and the word yield was chosen to remind me that there is very little I can control and to recognise that I have to learn to let go of what is not in my hand, and focus on that which I can control (the prayer of St Francis has been hugely important to me this year). When I chose this word, little did I know what 2020 would have instore for me, and one of the biggest lessons I have learned in the pandemic is that there is so much more that is outside of my control than I care to recognise.
Then, be as specific as you can be. Can you measure this goal? Is it something you see come to life?
Push yourself – is this something that feels just *a little* too big for you? If it’s way too big, there’s little chance it will happen, and if it’s totally do-able you’ll feel no sense of achievement when it’s met.
Think about the different aspects of your life. Don’t just think work and health (these are the obvious ones that most of us reach for). Take stock of the different areas of your life, decide how they are doing and make a plan for improvement. Think: Health, Personal Growth, Love, Family, Friends, Work, Finances, Study, Spirituality, Hobbies. Don’t pick ALL of these – pick a three of four and set yourself a progress goal.
What does progress look like month by month? If you’ve set yourself a sizeable goal (for example, last year I set the goal of writing a digital course that is ready to go live next week!). I made a project plan with what needed to be done each month in order to get there. Without sizeable, measurable chunks I could work towards each week and month, that big goal would never have been hit
What does accountability look like? Are you going to tell a loved one or colleague? Tell too many people and you reduce the likelihood of success. Tell one or two people to help you stay on track and that increases your chance of achieving it.
Align it with YOUR values. Is this a goal you have for your life, or something you think others expect of you? How does goal align with your values? If it doesn’t what are you doing it for?
How does this goal fit with your Strengths? What’s the best way for you to meet this goal in a way that you will enjoy, and even love working towards? I spend my life helping people discover their unique talents and strengths so that they can face any challenge with gusto and enjoyment.
So, as you set about creating some meaningful goals, here’s a quote by Stephen Kellogg to make you just a little bit scared…
“The moment you put a deadline on your dream it becomes a goal.”
P.S. James Clear is a mastermind on the role habits play in reaching our goals. There’s a mine of information to be found here.