With New Year comes a slew of resolutions and plans. If you have big plans for the coming year than it’s time to take note of the strategies needed to achieve your goals.
First things first, the strategies needed to achieve your goals are actually very simple, it’s the execution that is more difficult. You have to get uncomfortable and step outside your comfort zone to make your goals happen. All the things that you want and aspire to, that new job, starting your own business, running a marathon, won’t come to you. You have to go and make them happen. You have to stretch yourself and be prepared to do things that you have never done before.
The following will help you to focus your mind and make a start on achieving your goals:
Create a vision
Close your eyes and picture what you want to achieve.
Be specific about what you want. Want to get fitter? Grow your business? Learn a new language? You need to go deeper as these statements are too ambiguous. Define exactly what you mean. For example be able to run 5K in under half an hour. Include dates, times and amounts so you can measure achievement. By doing this you’ll know exactly when you have reached your goals.
This step is often forgotten. You become so focussed on the outcome you forget to plan the steps needed along the way. Make a plan and write it down. This will help you to visualise reaching your goal. You must have a plan and it is advisable to write it down.
The physical act of writing down your goals makes them real and more tangible and is a statement of intention. Once you have committed your goals (with deadlines) to paper make copies and leave them where you will see them- in work, in your bag, in your car. By making them visible they will serve as a daily reminder of what you want to achieve and will help you stay on track and hold yourself accountable for the progress you are making.
Finally, make your goals SMART
A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions:
*Who: Who is involved?
*What: What do I want to accomplish?
*Where: Identify a location.
*When: Establish a time frame.
*Which: Identify requirements and constraints.
*Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
EXAMPLE: A general goal would be, “Get a new job.” But a specific goal would say, “Get my CV & linkedin profile properly done and develop a plan to market myself”.
Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set.
When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goal.
To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as……
How much? How many?
How will I know when it is accomplished?
When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them.
To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress.
A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labor of love.
A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 10 lbs, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by May 1st”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.
Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal.
T can also stand for Tangible – A goal is tangible when you can experience it with one of the senses, that is, taste, touch, smell, sight or hearing.
When your goal is tangible you have a better chance of making it specific and measurable and thus attainable.