“New year new me :)” “This year is MY year” “Big movements this coming year”… Blah blah blah
To cut a long story short, Im sure we’ve all come across comments like these, flooding our social networks over the past few weeks. The idea of new years resolutions has become somewhat “repetitive”, and people are fed up with hearing these comments, therefore not wanting to make their own “resolutions”.
But, as we head into the new year it’s a great time to reflect on the last 365 days – what went well and what didn’t, what were the highlights and what were the lows. This should be used as a platform to plan for the year ahead. Goals should be set for the new year, instead of generic resolutions. These personal goals are deemed to be more effective as one is able to assess whether they’re heading in the right direction, as the year goes by.
Setting goals gives you a long-term vision and short term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to manage and organise your time and resources efficiently, so that you can make the very most of your time.
By setting concise and clearly defined goals, you can then physically see how far you have come, once the objectives have been achieved, and you’ll see forward progress in what might have previously seemed as a long pointless grind. Your self-confidence will also increase as you recognise your own ability in achieving the goals that you set yourself.
Starting to Set Personal Goals
Set your goals on a number of levels:
The “big picture” of what you want to do with your life (or over, say, the next 10 years) – identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve. Set goals with the following criteria in mind (Career, money, education, family, community, personal brand, leisure, mindset/attitude)
Spend some time brainstorming these things, and then select one or more in each of the categories that you feel would have the most impact on your life.
Once you know what the big picture is break this down into the smaller and smaller targets that you must hit to reach your lifetime goals. Create one-year, six-month, and one-month plans of progressively smaller objectives that you should reach to achieve your lifetime goals. Each of these should be based on the previous plan.
Finally, once you have your plan, you start working on it to achieve these goals. Create a daily To-Do List of things that you should do today, which will enable you to work towards your lifetime goals. Once you’ve decided on your first set of goals, keep the process going by periodically reviewing and updating your To-Do List to ensure you keep on track. Stretch yourself if you feel you’re over achieving.
Let’s take Michael as an example. For his New Year’s Resolution he has decided to think about what he really wants to do with his life.
His lifetime goals are as follows:
Career – “To be managing director of the company that I work for.”
Artistic – “To keep working on my musical skills. Ultimately I want to have my own show in our downtown jazz cafè.”
Physical – “To captain my work football team.”
Now that Michael has listed his lifetime goals, he then breaks down each one into smaller, more manageable goals.
A break down of his lifetime career goal – becoming managing director :
Five-year goal: “Become Managing Director.”
Two-year goal: “Volunteer for projects that the current Managing Director is heading up.”
One-month goal: “Talk to the current managing director to determine what skills are needed to do the job.”
One-week goal: “Book the meeting with the Managing Director.”
As you can see from the above, breaking big goals down into smaller, more manageable goals makes it far easier and provides a clearer structure to see how the goal will get accomplished.
The start of the process of goal setting should always begin with determining what your lifetime goals are. From there you can work down to the things that you can do in, say, the next five years, then next year, next month, next week, and today, to start moving towards them.
It is not as easy as it seems however. It would be naive to think that it is impossible to deviate from the plan and objectives you set from the outset. There have been times were I have set myself goals and unfortunately haven’t hit them. In those situations the recovery is just as important as the goal you set in the first instance. For example I wanted to complete 2 tough exams in a month but I only completed one. Instead of just resting on my laurels I just extended my deadline to give me an extra month to complete the second one, which I was able to do. It is important to be flexible with the goals you set yourself as they may not always be perfect to start off with.
I hope that this is useful for the new year and you think about what your goals are, not only for 2014 but for the next few years; and how you can set realistic goals to help you achieve that.