People set goals for themselves throughout the year, but as one year comes to an end and another begins, many people specifically take this time to set new goals in the form of New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions as a practice are nothing new. The ancient Babylonians are believed to have been the first people to make New Year’s Resolutions about 4,000 years ago. Romans and early Christians also had their own form of the practice as well.
In current times, many set aside time before January 1st to make promises to themselves to do better in one or more areas of their lives. However, statistics show that only 9.2 percent of people ever achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps they set too many goals or have unrealistic expectations, but I work with clients and networking partners to help them go through their own process of goal setting in the hope that they achieve what they set out to. Here are the steps that I use in my goal setting process.
I like my goals to be SMART goals. SMART, if you couldn’t already tell, is an acronym standing for:
Make sure your goals have all of these elements. For example, “I will weigh 195 pounds by February 28.” It’s specific and measurable by my use of a number and weight; I can achieve it because it’s only 5-10 pounds for me (I couldn’t use this goal if I weighed 250 lbs., for example); it’s relevant to my overall health objectives; and I’ve put a target date on it so that I can hold myself accountable and track my progress.
List your potential goals in the positive. Saying, “I want to lose 10 pounds,” will make it difficult for you to do what you want as it already puts you in a negative frame of mind and makes it less likely to get where you want to go. Instead, write “I will make $10,000 more this year” as it teaches/tricks your mind into making the goal more achievable.
It’s okay to start with a bunch of different goals. Write down 20 when you start your process if you want, but how many will you really be able to achieve and hold yourself to given time constraints? Rank the goals in order of importance to you, but make sure your list has goals in many different categories, such as:
• Financial (personal)
• Mental (free time, educational)
At the end of choosing the most important goals to you, you should likely have one in each area, assuming you have determined that you have the time and bandwidth to achieve them.
Break It Down and Make a Plan
A goal like “I will make $10,000 more this year” doesn’t magically happen. It takes figuring out the steps you need to take to make it happen. As you consider your goals, perhaps you will need to find the actions you take that will be most likely to lead to that money. It might be, “I will write two blogs for my business website each month,” “I will make 20 additional contacts each week to try to make sales,” or “I will ask for eight additional overtime hours each month.” Write the steps down and refer to them often. No matter what your goal might be, consider the steps needed to achieve it and focus on making those your behaviors.
Get Support and Hold Yourself Accountable
Tell people what your goals are. You do this for two reasons. First, it gives them life. Speaking the words and discussing them with someone makes it more likely that you will take the steps necessary to achieve them. Second, when you are conversing with people in the future and they ask you how you are doing, you will be able to hold yourself accountable to your own goals. Whether it’s a personal or professional partner, working with someone else on your goals makes it more likely that you will work to accomplish them.
Sometimes our goals and dreams are very big. Find ways to pat yourself on the back when you accomplish a milestone on your journey. And though you don’t want to get discouraged if you miss a deadline, you may want to find a way to penalize yourself. Good ways to reward yourself might be taking a day off, doing a leisure activity, or getting yourself a nice meal. You can penalize yourself positively, too. For example, if you don’t reach a goal or milestone, you might have to donate to charity, do push-ups and sit-ups, or skip a favored activity. All in all, you are in control of making the changes you want to make to better yourself.
I will share a couple of my goals with you for next year on our Facebook and Twitter pages (when I come up with them) and you can hold me accountable as we go forward. Happy Holidays and see you in 2019.
These are the opinions of Russell D. Rivera and not necessarily those of Cambridge, are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice.