Success is the achievement of defined goals, and to have a successful year, you need to set goals for the year. A goal is important because it helps you to set your course for the New Year. When you have a plan, you will be more disciplined with your time and other resources, you will be energized, and you will easily spot opportunities that will help you to realise your plans.
Goal-setting is simply planning ahead on paper (or some device). The time to set goals for a new year is not December 31st of the old year or January 1st of the new year.
You see, even though we can plan our day in minutes, it takes a longer process to plan for a period as long as a year. So, it’s best to start that process early so that you can get ready in every way for a successful year. This process is what makes the difference between a well-thought out goal and a New Year Resolution. Goals come from a much deeper place and it’s much more deliberate. Real goal-setting is a thoughtful process that involves a good amount of soul-searching.
Some people run away from setting goals because they feel that the goals would restrict them. This is not true; having goals does not stop you from being flexible. The goal is the end point; the means of getting there can change along the way. Sometimes, the entire goal may also change, but you have to begin the process. Some other people run away from goal-setting because they think it is too tedious. Well, I’m here to simplify it for you.
You can set your New Year goals effectively by taking the following steps:
One: Take some time alone with your writing materials. If you want to set goals as a family or group, you should still set the goals personally, and then come together later to harness them and agree on them.
Two: List the different areas of your life that you would like to change. These could include: spiritual, health, marital, family, career/business, academic, financial, social/communal, etc. You don’t have to set goals in every area (for best results, set goals in 5 -7 areas).
Three: Write out one major thing you want to achieve in each of these areas of life. What do you want to achieve in this area in the next one year? What is the specific result or outcome that you’re looking for? (You may have more than one thing, but I believe it’s better to have one really big goal that can take you a whole year to achieve, especially if you’re new to goal-setting.)
Four: Divide your one major goal (per area) into quarterly or monthly goals. To do this you simply need to break down the process of achieving each goal into four parts or twelve parts. This will keep you from being intimidated by a huge goal. It will also help you to measure the progress of your goals.
Five: For each goal, ask yourself the following questions:
a) What will this goal cost me? The achievement of your goal will require commitment from you. For this reason, you must be realistic and understand how the pursuit of this goal will affect you and your lifestyle. Make sure you are able, willing and ready to pay the price.
B) What are the resources that I would need to help me achieve this goal? Take the time to assess the resources that would enable you to achieve the goal: time, skills, relationships, information, finances, etc. Then, one by one, take account of the resources you already have and create a plan to get the ones that you do not have.
Below is a quick example of a goal, taking into account steps 3 -5 above:
Life Area: Health
Goal: Weigh 60kg by December 2016.
Goal Breakdown: March – 75kg; June – 70kg; September – 65kg; December – 60kg.
What this goal will cost me:
– Take the stairs at work
– Eat dinner by 5pm
– Reduce starchy foods
– No more chocolate and fizzy drinks
– Exercise twice a week
– Wake up early on Saturday for aerobic classes (no more sleeping in)
The resources I need:
– A lot of discipline (Hire a coach or ask my friends to support and encourage me)
– One hour every Saturday morning (Set my alarm accordingly)
– Flat shoes for taking the stairs (I have some already)
– Healthy substitute for starchy foods (Research on the internet on Saturday, ask specialists)
– A skipping rope for exercises (Buy one tomorrow)
– Sign-up fees for aerobic classes (Ask my neighbour about her aerobic classes tomorrow; pay up)
– Exercise kit for aerobic classes (Buy some materials next week)
It’s time to set your goals for 2016. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me; I love planning and goal-setting. All the best with the process!