No, this post does not come too early. Many people use the new year as a clean sheet to start setting new goals and get into good habits. While I think this can sometimes be beneficial, I think that for most people it is just an excuse to delay objectives that are, at best, wishful thinking and, at worst, unachievable targets. It is now time to get your goals in place and work towards them without having to wait for a symbolic date to begin working.
What gets measured, gets managed
This is a phrase that I heard time and time again and it refers to the fact that if you do not measure something there is no way you way you can work towards it. Well some goals are much easier to measure than others. You may want to lose or gain 10 kg in the next couple months, well you can hop on a scale and you will quickly find out if you are getting closer to our goal and it is easy to stay on top of your progress. For some other goals it is a bit more difficult but not impossible. You may want to learn to play an instrument and become good at it. Sure, “good” may be subjective so a better goal may be that you want to learn to play a certain song. Get specific, vague goals are useless because they can mean everything and nothing at the same time.
Tell everybody about your goal
Once you have a goal in mind, it helps if you start telling people about your goal. I might be your inner circle of friends, your family or even the wider public. If people know that you have a particular goal in mind you force make you more accountable and more likely to stay committed and not slip up. If you keep a goal to yourself, it is very much possible that you will create excuses which prevent you from getting done whatever it is you want to achieve.
Make goals S.M.A.R.T.
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measureble, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
- Specific As mentioned before, goals should be as specific as possible, this will help you visualise exactly what you want to achieve, rather than having a vague idea in your mind of what you want.
- Measurable: This was touched before, find a way to quantify your goals and measure your progress towards your final objective. This will allow you to find out when you are having a moment of plateau and you are stalling or if you are going backwards rather than forwards.
- Attainable= You should not set unrealistic goals, these may sound good at the beginning but you will soon realise that there is now way you can achieve them, at that point they will become counterproductive and they will be demotivating rather than motivating.
- Relevant: It is important that goals are relevant to you. Do you really want it? Does it suit your personality and skills?
- Timely: A goal means nothing if you do not set deadlines in place in order to keep you going in the right direction. If it is a bigger goal you may want to break it up into a series of smaller goals and set up a series of check-ins that allow you to monitor your progress one step at a time.
I believe that the secret to all successful people is having ambitious goals and having a plan to achieve them. And once you achieve something you had been working on for a long time it is now time to set new goals and get to work again! Remember, A goal without action is just a wish…
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