It’s the beginning of a new year and everyone is talking about setting goals. I hate goals! They are the bane of my existence. Every January, I would think about what goals I wanted to reach and write them on paper along with a goal date. I would go the extra distance and post them around my house. And then life would happen and I wouldn’t reach my goals. I’d feel bad, wonder what was wrong with me and view goal setting as an empty exercise. But last year, something happened… I set some goals and reached them! I am so excited now and my goal setting model is changed forever! I’m assuming you feel the same way about goals or you wouldn’t be reading this post so I going to share with you my new goal setting model or tips to help you accomplish your goals this year.
1. Start from a place of gratitude and abundance. You already have so much in life and much to be grateful for. Take about 10 minutes and write down those things down. Approach your goals not from a position of lack and need in your life, but from a position of gratitude and abundance. What do I mean? I wanted to increase the number of customers I provide service to in my business. I decided on the number and changed my thinking from “I need to get more customers so I can increase my income” to “I already have (gratitude and abundance) the additional customers and all I have to do is go find them.” This subtle change in my thinking kept me going because my goal turned into a treasure hunt. I eventually surpassed my original goal.
2. Set no more than five goals. I know we live in a society that applauds the overachiever but when you set too many goals, you get overwhelmed and overloaded. Your attention is pulled in so many different directions that you accomplish little and give up quickly. Last year, I set four goals for myself. My focus on doing the necessary steps was sharper and I didn’t feel so consumed by my goals and feel that I had to work on them 24 hours a day. I also could quickly adjust my actions and stay on course. In the end, I achieved each one. Also because I felt good about accomplishing something, I eagerly added new goals throughout the year as I finished my original goals.
3. Accept it will take longer than you think. We know the saying, “goals without deadlines are just daydreams.” I believe this statement. However, deadlines are not etched in stone. Activities and results always perform flawlessly on paper. But the reality is, life is not flawless. Sometimes, you need to do more things than you anticipated. When you need to interact with other people to achieve a goal, more often than not, they don’t respond as fast or the way you anticipated. If you hit your deadline great! If you miss your deadline, great! Breathe. You’re closer to your goal than you were when you started. Last year, I wanted to reach a milestone in my business by June. I worked and worked but other people didn’t respond the way I anticipated. Surprise! But I kept working and reached the milestone in November. I’m happy with no complaints.
4. You are not perfect. To err is human. Along the road to your goal, you’ll make mistakes, have slip-ups, life interruptions and unexpected stuff. Forgive yourself, get back up and continue along. I joined Toastmasters in March 2015 and decided to obtain the first achievement award, Competent Communicator or CC, by December 25, 2015. To become a CC, you must do 10 different speeches. I missed most of the summer meetings for my Toastmasters club due to life interruptions which put me behind in my speech number. On December 1st, I had four speeches left. I decided to stick with my goal date. Since my club was only meeting once in December, I contacted other area clubs and asked if I could be a guest speaker. I did one speech at my club and the remaining three at other clubs; my last three speeches were done back to back. I achieved CC on December 15th.
5. Don’t give up on setting goals. Setting goals, either in January or throughout the year, is good because it means you’re directing the type of life you want to live. Whether the goals you set are realized or not, keep setting goals. Before 2015, I would set goals and they would blow up on me; I rarely reached them. Perhaps this happens to you. Maybe like me, you’re setting your goals too high or setting them based on other people’s expectations. Or maybe like me, you aren’t really ready to grab the brass ring. Something changed with me in 2015. I started looking at my goals differently. I used to look at goals as a way to fill an empty hole in my life because I didn’t have enough and that I had to claw and strive my way up to them or I was a failure. It was exhausting. Now I see my goals as a done deal and all I have to do is go on a treasure hunt to find the pieces to reach them. When I’m hunting for a certainty, I know I can’t fail; I just have days when I find and days when I don’t find pieces. I don’t feel exhausted or give up.
My business coach says, “To achieve something you’ve never achieved before, you have to do something you’ve never done before.” Do something different this year. Apply the above tips and watch yourself achieve.
Happy Goal Setting and Happy New Year!