Goal Setting for the New Year: Go beyond your resolutions…
Happy new year to you! You made it! Congratulations. This year is going to be a more creative and productive year for sure.
I’m sure you’ve armed yourself with your ‘New Year Resolutions’. Great! Thrash’em if you don’t want this year to be like the previous year.
Your resolutions are the reason you achieve little or nothing and almost get fed up before the first quarter of the year is even up. Resolutions without plans to achieve them are like castles in the air. They fall because they don’t have a solid foundation.
It is like trying to build a house without a plan or a foundation to erect it on. The house will always crumble.
You have an idea of what you want and where you want to get to. But you may not know how to get there.
Take out time to think and reflect on the previous year and see how you can improve and achieve your goals this year.
Don’t make same mistakes you made the previous years past. Do this instead.
Don’t make resolutions. Set goals instead. Then write them down.
When you write down your visions/goals plainly, you make them easy to act on because they become inciting commands. Written goals guide on what is to be done and the priority to start with.
This is where people also confuse activity with productivity; being busy all day without accomplishing anything worthwhile. Hard work isn’t smart work after all.
You ‘see’ better what you care about when you write your goals down.
Write a list of what you want to be, do, or have. Then, reshuffle and prioritize the list and start working toward each one. Include even the BIG, ‘unattainable’ goals. They make you commit if you break them down. Work on them one at a time until every goal is accomplished.
So, what are your goals? Are they long-term or short-term goals? Are they personal goals, family goals, career, or business goals? Do you have financial goals and corporate goals you need to achieve?
Write your goals down and place the list where you can see it. This reminds your brain that there are things that need to be done.
All our lives, we make resolutions about what we want. Yet all too often we don’t achieve them. We go for seminars and workshops, attend programmes, partake in crash courses. But we are deficient in taking action on the knowledge when all the talking is over.
Most don’t achieve because of the lack of actionable goals-setting and discipline.
Every successful goal-setting requires good planning.
Set “SMART” goals. Then take consistent, persistent, and deliberate actions to achieve the goals you’ve set. Every day you wake up you must take a step closer toward your goal.
Your SMART goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed. This goal-setting theory was propounded by Dr Edwin A. Locke.
You can set even SMART-ER goals. Because to get ahead you need even clearer and SMART-ER goals.
This means your SMART goals should also be Evaluable, and Re-adjustable.
And this goal-setting method can be used for achieving various kinds of goals. So far as it is about hitting desired targets.
So where do you start? Believe it is possible. Have faith; the confidence that makes bold to say it, think it, write it, and take action. Be bold and aggressive about achieving your goals!
Back your thoughts up with immediate and proactive actions! Do it now! It will be done anyway; by you or someone else. Just write it down and get to work and other details will follow.
I love to use the lioness as an illustration for setting and achieving goals. Because they are good at identifying targets and going for the kill. Why the lioness? Yes! Because most lions sleep all day and leave the hunting to lionesses.
During a hunt, the lioness uses the SMARTER goal-setting method. She is:
It knows what prey it wants to go after and lays an ambush for it. The lioness knows the size of its prey and how many members of its pride it can likely feed. It has an idea of the strength of its prey.
The same way you should ask yourself, “What do I really want?” You have to know what you want. Be specific, descriptive, and particular so you can take specific actions toward them. Define your desired result(s) proactively and definitely.
In the same way, you should describe every aspect of your goal. And be specific about action steps you intend taking to make the dream come true. For example, “I will save $(amount) every month for (how long) so I can buy (object of desire) by (time/year).” State WHAT, WHEN, and even WHO is involved.
Why will a lioness go for a hare when it can hunt down a water buffalo with almost the same effort? Is it only her that will feed on the game?
What does your goal mean to you? What does achieving it signify? Why do you want it (so bad)? Is it worth it? How does it affect others?
This gives you a reason(s) to stay on when it’s tough and you feel like quitting.
This is why won’t spend out of the specific amount you are trying to save for a project. Because you know what you want to achieve as there is an attached importance to it. You know what achieving it will mean to you and those around you.
A lioness knows that it cannot tackle an adult elephant or buffalo all by itself. Except maybe in the company of other hunters like itself. It goes for preys it can outrun and bring down because it is built for the kill.
Can you achieve the big goal you’ve set? Do you need help? Goals should be really achievable. Anything is possible. But training to become an Olympic sprinting champion at 50 may not be. You may achieve participation and win. But can you win consistently and become a champion over time?
Elon Musk may have had the ability to build rockets while in South Africa. But what if he never set foot in the United States? Could he have achieved his dream and as fast as he did? We can break challenges down to the barest minimum to see how they can be achieved.
A lioness knows it can take down a particular prey before it goes for it. But it also considers the distance of its prey, its own speed and strength, and that of the prey. Then, it considers giving it a chase or giving it up.
Be realistic in telling yourself the truth. Goals are meant to challenge us and stretch us to achieve. But to maintain motivation and avoid frustration, set realistic goals. Be realistic about paying the required sacrifice.
However, sacrifices you are meant to make should neither kill you nor be too small to push you. Be honest about your goals. “How long will it really take me?”, “Is it possible to get that car and also maintain it?”
Give yourself some allowance. Go at a good pace. But also understand that if you do it how you’ve been doing it, you will get the results you’ve been getting.
Do you have the talent and skill-set for it? Are you still young for action? Do you have the tools and resources needed to achieve the goal? If not, are you willing to learn?
Timed and Timely
Lionesses know it’s futile going after specific preys in the open or when it is still daytime. For some, they wait for the time of the day when it’s hot and animals come for a drink by the stream.
They also wait for darkness to cover at night before hunting. And that’s timing and strategy. And then they drag the kill home or call in the pride to eat before it’s dawn. Because they can have competition anytime.
Is it dark enough for hunting or fishing? Because fishing is more efficient at night. How long will the chase last? Is it the right time to pounce?
Like a pregnant woman can estimate how far and long she is, be able to tell how long it will take you to achieve. How do you intend to measure your set goals? Set clear steps and time frames to achieve each and every one. What time frame is realistic enough to achieve the goal? What comes next?
If goals are not time-bound, you can’t track the progress of your journey to achievement. Goals should have a start time and end time.
“When is it starting? Now! When is it ending? November 31. A successful goal has deadlines and endpoints. Never leave goals open-ended as they never push you into commitment. They have to be timed and timely. Set dates. Have time periods you attend to the goal.
“I will get the black Volvo XC90 before November 2019.” That is being definite. Whether you count up or count down, let the time be reasonable enough to complete the goal.
For goals to be timed and timely, it means you should have a good grip on time. Be able to allocate and manage time effectively as every action is time-based. Have a sense of urgency to achieve goals and understand its relevance in the future.
How long will it take you to accomplish your goal? By the time the final goal is achieved will it still be relevant or valued? That’s the timeliness of your goal. There is no use giving the dead a treatment they could have had now that they’re dead.
Lionesses evaluate what it takes and what is involved. They understand the risks and consider turf advantage. “I am this close now…can I take this hippo down alone? Will other hippos come out to defend it? Will the wind direction give away my position?”
Goals must be reviewable to track how far and long they are from being achieved. Achievement should be revised every day to track progress on the timeline. Review and re-assess how far you have come and how far is left.
Be realistic about your evaluations. Have you been consistent or you are trying to make up for time and productivity? This will help you know where you are in edging toward your goal.
Set measurable track-points and break the goals into ‘chewable’ bits and meet the small deadlines. If goals are not evaluated per time, progress cannot be tracked on the timeline. Have a report of progress and review it regularly.
Lionesses know when to call the lions for backup; when the prey becomes hard to take down. They know when to change an ambush strategy. They know if to back down when surrounded by deadly prey. To retreat, reinforce, and come back another day or not.
Evaluate the process and re-adjust your strategy accordingly. How are you going about it? What are you not doing right? What areas need more effort? Observe the process and progress. This will help you seek better and more efficient ways of achieving even better results. You will channel effort in the right direction without futility.
Readjustment doesn’t mean you make the goals smaller or change it. But it means readjusting the process to achieve the desired goal.
If suddenly you get a raise in pay shouldn’t that mean readjusting to increase savings toward your dream project? It shouldn’t mean more spending but more money to save.
Only readjust the goal itself if you’re going for something better.
The Soccer Match Analogy of Setting Goals
A soccer match is played with the purpose of driving the ball into the other team’s post to win [specific goal] in 90 minutes [time]. And the team that scores the highest number of goals wins. But you won’t just start from the middle of the field and take the ball straight into the net.
You will have to dribble, you may fall, need help and assists, may run out of breath and even get fouled. But one thing that matters most is scoring points as you play. They are boundaries, else people can shoot out anytime or even score their own team.
During halftime and timeouts, players take out time to rest and examine [evaluate] their play against the other team.
If they missed shots, they re-strategize to capitalize on the weakness of their opponent team [readjust]. And extra time can also be counted as readjustment.
It is possible to score 4 goals against a team in a match [achievable]. But it is not actually possible to score 120 goals against a full team in a non-friendly match within 90 minutes [unrealistic].
In the end, the players all go home paid and the winning team lifts the trophy [meaning]. And the achievement is beyond money for both the players and fans.
A goal that helps you Get On Another Level…that’s a GOAL! Win this year. Do your goals have these elements?
Also, it is one thing to set goals and another thing to be disciplined to see them through. And you can apply this to your career, business, organization, and in personal life to achieve what you want. SMART GOAL is your way to achievement.
Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible
- Set your SMART goals
- Write them down
- Break them down into everyday actionable plans
- And then get to work: start now
- Be disciplined and consistent
Go have a great year!
Excerpt from my book HOW TO BECOME A RITUALIST coming out soon. Watch out.
Share the post with someone who needs it and leave comments after the post about how you achieve your goals if you find this article helpful.
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