Author Melody Beattie once said that when it comes to new beginnings, “the new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals”.
Whether you say you do, or say you don’t, we all still make them. Whenever something new happens, like a new job or a new year, we cannot help but to dream up new goals.
Setting goals is easy, but like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said, a goal without a plan is just a wish. To help you reach your desired destination, we have compiled a list of 10 important tips to consider when setting your 2016 goals:
1. SMART goals are the way to go
You’ve probably heard about SMART goals, but do you put this into practice? SMART goals give you guidance when it comes to deciding what you want to achieve. Your goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Make sure that each of your goals meets these 5 requirements to ensure success.
2. Write it down and spread the word
This is very important. You need to ensure that you can see your goals as often as possible – a constant, tangible reminder will help you stay on track.
Putting your goals down on paper is a good first step. After writing it down or typing it out, make a number of copies.
Place each copy on a spot where you can regularly see it. For example, inside your favourite book, on the fridge or the bathroom mirror. You can even leave a copy among your socks, in your desk drawer, suitcase or handbag.
3. Inspire yourself with pictures
Words are seldom enough, so get images to help you visualise your goals. Put pictures of your ideal body on your fridge or bedside table, or pictures of your dream house or car, or whatever it is you want to achieve. Maybe you want to travel to the Grand Canyon. Whatever the case, find beautiful images to inspire and motivate you.
Pinterest is a great digital version of the “dream board” at no cost to you. You can arrange your collection of dreams on walls, screens and scrapbooks, which will be a great motivational tool during darker, uninspiring times.
4. Have a plan
Having goals are not enough -you need to know how you are going to achieve them. If one of your goals is to spend less money, make sure you have a budget, know where you can cut and which habits you should break. If your goal is to lose weight, you need to plan your meals and exercise routines in advance.
5. Make sure you know your reasons
You might know what you want, but do you know why you want it? Being honest about your goals can help you stay motivated. There is no right or wrong reason (as long as it is ethical). If you want to become rich because you want bragging rights, that is you’re prerogative, as long as you are honest with yourself about your reasons.
6. Make time to work on your goals
People are obsessed with time. We schedule everything from meetings to birthday parties. If your goals are important to you, book specifics times in your calendar to work on them.
7. Do it with someone
This is not for everyone, but don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Sometimes it is easier to achieve your goals if you share it with someone. Working out, eating healthy and recycling are all positive habits that can be lots of fun when done with friends.
8. Reward yourself
When you are intensely focused on the end result, it is easy to forget this part. Remember that success is all about the journey, so make sure you treat yourself along the way.
Set specific milestones for each goal and spoil yourself with something affordable when you reach each one.
9. Tick and track it
Make sure to track your progress. This helps to show you how far you have come, especially during times when you feel like giving up. When you reach a new milestone, tick or scratch it of your list. It is amazing how rewarding such a small act can be.
10. Remember, JK did not create Harry in a day
JK Rowling started working on Harry Potter in 1990, and it was only 6 years later that Bloomsbury agreed to publish the first Harry Potter novel. Most successful people have biographies written about them, not because of their success, but because of the long, twisting journeys it took to get there.
Your financial situation is probably the result of a number of bad decisions and situations over a period of time. The extra weight you gained did also not happen overnight. Unfortunately, we do not have wizarding powers to magically make everything better in an instant, and your goals are going to take time and work to become a reality.
If it is easy, it would probably not be one of your goals.
So be patient and keep going. If you achieve your goals this year, just imagine on what a better footing you will start next year.