With the new year right around the corner, and with everyone very excited to put 2020 behind them, you are probably ready to hit the ground running and make 2021 your best year yet! But before we get too ahead of ourselves, we wanted to take a moment to talk about goal setting. While most of us screwed up our list of goals for 2020 and threw them in the bin, 2021 presents us with a unique opportunity to reset and reassess what direction we would like our professional and personal lives to take over the next 12 months.
FIRST OF ALL… WHAT IS GOAL SETTING?
We all have dreams. A vision for what our dream lives look like. Whether that is to be working remotely from a yacht somewhere in the Maldives or having a large corner office in a skyscraper as the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, there is no right or wrong answer, your dream is uniquely yours. What we can help you with is how you approach the process of getting there, and you can do that by goal setting. Goal setting is a powerful motivator that helps us create a plan that we then action to achieve those goals or lifelong dreams. While the exact goal setting process may look slightly different for each individual, after all it is about finding what works for you, the key principles are largely the same.
WHY IS GOAL SETTING IMPORTANT?
Not only is setting goals an excellent motivator and a powerful tool, it also helps keep you accountable and track your progress towards achieving your overall goal. It can put things into perspective and assist you in clearly defining what your values are and what you want to achieve in your professional and personal life.
TOP TIPS FOR GOAL SETTING
1. Set SMART Goals
I’m sure at some point you have heard the phrase “SMART Goals” being thrown around and there is an excellent reason for this. The SMART framework is an effective tool to use when setting your goals. It drives us to set goals that are:
- Specific – Your goals should be clear and well defined.
- Measurable – You should be able to measure your goals success.
- Attainable – Your goals should be possible to achieve.
- Relevant – Your goals should be relevant to the direction that you want your career and life to take.
- Timely – Your goals should have a time-frame or deadline.
After you have written down your goals, compare them against the SMART framework. Do they meet the criteria of each letter? If not, go back and tweak them accordingly. It may seem tedious, but it will definitely improve your chances for success.
2. Be Accountable
A large part of achieving your goals is to remain accountable. While we know that sometimes this is easier said than done, there are definitely strategies that you can use to help yourself stay accountable. For example, enlist the help of a trusted colleague or friend. By sharing your goals with someone close to you, you are more likely to stick to them, even when times get tough as you don’t want to feel like you have to explain yourself. Your accountability buddy may even have some great ideas on how to achieve your goals or be able to assist in achieving them by providing you time to work on them and a space to talk openly about what you desire and why.
3. Write it Down
If you really want to take your goal setting to the next level, consider following a process that goes further than just writing it down on a random piece of paper, that will most likely become or lost or end up gathering dust. Instead really commit and choose a designated notebook for your goal setting and then use this to track your progress and record any breakthroughs or reevaluations throughout the process.
4. Track Your Progress
In order to help keep yourself motivated, make sure you consistently check in with yourself and see how you are tracking to achieve your goals. Using the same notebook as above, set yourself a designated time each week, fortnight or month (whatever suits you and your process), to go over your progress and make any notes that you need to (see I told you that notebook would come in handy).
5. Set Goals You Can Control
While it is all well and good to set your sights high and have some BIG goals in mind, it is important to remember that some things are always going to be outside of your control. For example, at the end of the day you cannot control the outcome of the lotto (we wish you could too), the weather or how other people will behave or feel, so it is important to remember this when you are setting your goals. Once you have written down your goals, review each one and really ask yourself if it requires any outside elements, luck or chance and make any adjustments accordingly.
6. Understand Your Motivations
Ok so you have a burning desire to achieve a certain goal, and that is great, but have you considered why that goal is so important to you? Perhaps it aligns quite closely to your values? Or allows you to explore a passion or yours? You don’t need to justify your motivations to anyone but yourself, but understanding why this goal is so important to you can help keep you on track and give you the best chance for success. If you want to take it a step further, you could write down your motivations in your goals notebook, so that you can revisit this if (more likely when) things ever get a little tough.
7. Keep It Visible
Whether you are a visual person or not, as the saying goes “out of sight, out of mind.” By keeping your goals visible, you are constantly reminded of what you are working towards. This could be as simple as a list pinned to your wall, or if you want to get a bit more creative you could create a visual mood board or pinterest board. Also try taking a picture of your list/mood board and keeping it on your phone or set it as your phone/computer screen saver. Not only is it an excellent reminder of what you are working so hard to achieve, but it will also help you keep yourself accountable and give you the best chance for success.
8. Reward Yourself
Sometimes achieving goals can be a long-winded process with many ups and downs. Which is why it is important to acknowledge all the hard work you are doing along the way. Set yourself mini rewards for reaching any milestones in your progress to help celebrate the little wins. Not only does this help with motivation and make you feel positive towards your goals, but it also reminds you of just how far you have come and what is possible.
9. Review and Reassess
While we always set goals with the best of intentions, sometimes there are little bumps along the way that can momentarily de-rail our progress. NOTE: This is not permission to throw away your list of goals and forget about all your hard work up until this point. Instead see this as an opportunity to review and reassess what you set out to achieve. Take out your goal notebook and take the time to make any necessary modifications to help keep you on track to reaching the end goal.
While this is a lot of information to take in, and it may all seem a little daunting, I can assure you that by taking the above tips on board you will be approaching goal setting like a pro in no time at all, and better still it is a skill set that will never go astray. Now if you will excuse me, I am going to go and set some goals of my own so that I can hopefully be sipping cocktails from a tropical location by Christmas 2021.