We’re on the homestretch for 2017; another year is almost gone. It’s time to look back and ask, “Did I meet my goals for the year?”
Chances are you didn’t meet every goal, and that’s alright. If you did or did not, you’re the only one to know.
But what’s more important than meeting every single goal is that you did set goals in the first place. Because doing so moves you up the ladder of success so that over time you accomplish your goals.
Setting goals is like turning the knob to “auto.”
No, I don’t mean things will happen on autopilot, requiring no effort on your part. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.
What I’m referring to is this… Setting goals tunes the mind to look for opportunities so that it can achieve what it’s been told to, on autopilot.
Goals give us focus and direction so that our mind can go to work and get the job done. This process runs beneath the surface, in the background, no matter if you’re thinking about your goals or not.
Goal Setting Is Important…
That’s why no matter what it is you’re shooting for, goal setting is one of the most important things you will do for yourself. It helps you organize your life around what you want to accomplish.
Most of us want to achieve more in all areas of life, including:
- Personal, family and social life. Frequently it’s our personal goals that motivate us to achieve our career goals. For example… the desire to create a better life for your loved ones creates the desire to build a successful business. What is your why? Why are you going after this goal? What motivates you about it? Dig deep, because if it’s something you really want and know why you want it, it’s more likely to happen.
- Career, business, and financial life.
These goals determine how we’ll make all of our goals come true. Results from these goals provide us with the needed resources. Setting and achieving goals in this area allows us to do and achieve more in all the other areas important to us.
So now I want to share a few strategies to help you fine tune setting your goals for 2018. Here are ten principles to keep in mind.
- Clarity is a must. Start out with clearly defined goals. What is it you want to achieve, what is the desired outcome, and how will it look?
- You must have a plan. What do you need to do to get from A to B? What steps do you need to take? I’m certain you’ve heard the expression that a goal without a plan is just a wish! For example, if you want to return to your previous perfect level of fitness, then joining a gym or signing up for a class is your plan to help move you toward your goal.
- What is your time frame to accomplish your goal? Without a target for completion, goals will simply slip away from you.
- Evaluate; how will you know you’ve achieved your goal? Do you have a clear way to evaluate or measure the outcome? Let’s say you want to lose some weight. Losing “some weight” would be hard to measure. However, if you say you want to lose 5 pounds by the end of next month, you have a clear goal you can measure.
- Set big goals, but be realistic. Goals should be challenging but not so much that the subconscious mind immediately rejects the idea. Let’s say you’re planning to start your business next month. Setting the goal of reaching break-even within three months might be achievable. However, setting the goal of growing your practice to gross $250,000 in revenue within three months would be hard to achieve and therefore is unrealistic. Be honest with yourself, stay realistic, and set your goals accordingly.
- Write down your goals; unless recorded, they are more of a wish than a goal. Read over your goals frequently to help remind and focus your mind. A written goal can be measured, tracked, and evaluated. If you don’t write down your goal, it is just a wish that will change and eventually be forgotten
- What’s going to stop you? What are the obstacles standing in your way? Come up with solutions to what may throw you off track. For example, if you want to lose weight, your biggest obstacle may be your love for snacking. Your solution might be to ban chocolate chip cookies from your house.
- Visualize your goals. Keep your goals in sight and see yourself achieving your goal. Positive affirmations can also help move you toward a goal. Since your brain always wants you to be right, make sure you feed it the right information.
- How will your reward yourself or celebrate once you’ve achieved your goal? Reward yourself by making a promise to buy a new sweater for yourself, after you’ve lost the first 10 pounds. Or get that new bike you wanted after you reached your goal of riding 50 miles a day.
- Support! We all benefit from getting the support of loved ones, friends, or mentors. Feeling supported as we work toward our goals makes it all so much easier. Just think how beneficial it is to have the support of a walking or jogging buddy. It helps keep us going and moving forward.
Sometimes setting goals can seem overwhelming. However setting, working on, and achieving our goals does not have to be difficult.
Keep your goals small enough, so they are achievable and keep your plan in front of you, so you don’t lose track of where you are going.
And just keep going, because before you know it, you’ll have the business and personal life you want.
Are you working on your goals for 2018? Or do you simply amend your 2017 goals? Tell us what you do to get ready for the new year… Leave us a comment below.
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog.