Do you ever set goals for the new year and forget about them by the end of January? I know that was the case for me many times! So what can you do to make sure you stick with your goals?
I have discovered that personal goal setting needs to be done the same way as you do it in a work setting. This has been the only way for me to ensure that I follow through with my planning and actually accomplish my goals. Here are five simple rules I follow to help me with effective goal setting.
1. Understand WHY
Why are you setting this goal in the first place? You have to understand on a deeper level the reason for creating that goal for yourself. If you goal is to train for the marathon, you need to ask yourself, why is it important to me to run those 26.2 miles. This will help to keep you going when you encounter obstacles.
Read my previous blog where I describe how defining my why has finally helped me lose over 20 pounds after unsuccessful trials for 2 years.
2. Make it Realistic
Don’t fall into a trap of “this year I will organize every area of my home, and I will exercise every day, and I will write a book, and I will cook a healthy dinner every night, and I will chair a PTO committee, and I will become debt free”. Sounds familiar?
I feel like we sometimes tend to have so many ambitious goals and by mid January we become so overwhelmed that we quit everything and go back to our old ways… until next January.
Instead, set a couple of priority goals for the year. This is where you need to apply the principle of quality over quantity. Decide what goals are most important for you to accomplish in 2019 and focus on those.
3. Put it in Writing
Once you know what goals you want to accomplish, you need to put them in writing. And I don’t simply mean to write it down somewhere on a scrap paper to never be looked at again. Take a few minutes and neatly write it down. It is important that you are able to see those goals every single day.
You can write it down in your planner, create a file on your computer, make a vision board, or simply put them on a sticky note somewhere by your desk or work area.
You need this daily reminders of the promise you made to yourself to work on specific goals to improve a specific area of your life.
4. Plan It Out
It is important to create a plan and make time to work on your goals. Otherwise your well thought out and written goals will just remain desires and never be realized. So if your goal is to organize your house, set some specific tasks for each month (or week). For example, in January you can concentrate on your kitchen. You can list specific areas of the kitchen for each week.
There are many resources available online (blogs, YouTube channels, etc.) that you can use to help you break your goals into smaller pieces and schedule it out over a period of time (it does not have to be a whole year, it could be a few weeks, depending on your specific goals).
The important thing is to decide on the overall plan and break it down into smaller actionable tasks that you can spread out over a longer period of time.
5. Set Check-in Points
Finally, you need to make sure to set specific times to evaluate your progress. This will help you accomplish two things: (1) hold you accountable, and (2) allow to make necessary changes to your plan.
It is very easy to fall off track if you do not check in on your progress on regular basis. Depending on what your goal is, it can be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly. The frequency is up to you, but make sure you put it on your calendar. Otherwise, it is unlikely to happen.
And it is important to allow yourself some flexibility to adjust your plan. As you start working on your goals you might discover that it needs a little tweaks along the way. Maybe your goals was to train for a marathon and you chose Sundays for your long runs but discovered that Saturdays would be a much better fit. Evaluating your progress on regular basis and making small adjustments will make you more efficient and driven in realizing your specific goals.
What other tips do you have for effective goal setting? Please share below.