New Year New Goals
It is a common practice in January of a new year to set goals for the year to come. Goals come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small in stature only requiring a few weeks to complete. Others may require the entire year to ascertain. Either way, learning to set these goals and how one accomplishes them can be the difference in success and failure.
Picking a Goal
First off, we must pick our goal simple enough right? As stated, before goals come in many forms. They can be financial, spiritual, vocational, and many more areas. The biggest mistake most people make is not making their goal specific enough. For example, one can say “I want to lose weight” or “I want to grow my savings account” While the idea is right, we need to flesh out these goals a little more. First, let’s make it more specific. Something like, “I want to lose 20 pounds by July” or “I want to save $5000 by December. Goals can also be habit based as well. Sometimes habit goals can contribute to larger achievement-based goals like the ones mentioned above. An example of this could be, “I will only order fast food or go out to eat 1x/week until I reach $5000 in my savings”. By making a habit of eating out minimally the goal of saving money becomes faster and easier.
The next important thing about goal setting is making sure they are obtainable and realistic. Let us go back to our weight loss goal. Being a fitness professional, I can tell you that if one was to say they wanted to lose 20lbs in a month I may look at them hesitantly. Simply put, make sure one day at some point you can potentially reach said goal in a reasonable amount of time.
Why are you Perusing this Goal?
We all have our own motivations that drive us through our daily lives. This does not change at all when it comes to having motivation for our goals. Therefor when selecting a goal ask yourself why do you want this. Write down at least reasons why you are motivated to accomplish your goal. Maybe, in the instance of the savings account you want to save up for a new car? Whatever it might be it is always important to have your why. Your why is what will get through when times are hard and you feel like quitting and what you will smile about when you are crushing it. Moral of the story here without your “why” the likely hood of falling short on your goal only increases.
I promise we are getting to the end just stay with me. We have our goal, we have our “why”, and now let’s map our route. What are the steps you will take to get to the end result? Sure, it’s easy enough to say “my goal is to lose weight and that’s all there is to it”. I find I have more success in breaking steps down especially if it is a long-term achievement goal. Take our money saving example. My first step would be to make a budget sheet and find out where I may have some not needed expenses. Next, I would try and figure out any ways to make some extra money, whether that is more hours at work or a second job. I would then set some shorter time frame goals within this main goal. Maybe saying I want to have $1000 saved every quarter would make it seem more obtainable. Furthermore, by breaking things down you in a sense accomplish smaller goals on your way to your main goal which can be a huge morale booster in down times.
Finally, yes finally and maybe the most important step is remembering to give yourself a reward when you can cross that goal off your list. Write your reward down and follow through when the time comes. Obviously be realistic don’t promise yourself something you cannot afford or do. Far too often I remember setting goals, reaching them, but then just having an oh well kind of feeling. Maybe I would share the news with my wife or close friend, but mostly not giving my goals the weight they deserve. No matter how big or small every goal accomplished brings you one step closer to being the person you dream about being when you close your eyes.
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland