With each new year there are new hopes, new plans and new resolutions. The new year is a time for new goals and new commitments. Why is it that these hopes, plans and resolutions are often abandoned before the end of the first quarter? Is it all just a waste of time? The new year seems like a great time to talk about ways to make goals work for you.
Goals are critical to success. Goals provide direction and motivation. Achieving your goals can give you a sense of accomplishment and self confidence that will propel you further than you imagine. I would like to offer three tips that may make a difference for you when setting goals this year.
First, make the goal positive. Focus on something that you will do rather than something that you will limit, change or discontinue. It is very difficult for the mind to focus on a negative. When you say you want to stop eating the prevailing message is "eating." It is much easier to focus on a goal such as eating more fruit.
Second, make the goals SMART. Many have heard about the idea of SMART goals but I'll take just a few moments to review this valuable acronym.
"S" stands for "specific" or "stated" in writing. When the goal is specific and in writing there is no doubt about the goal's meaning and you can always check back to be sure you are on track.
"M" stands for "measurable." You need to state the goal in a way that you can measure progress toward completion and know for sure whether or not you actually got there.
"A" stands for "achievable." All goals should be challenging, pull out your best efforts and give you a true sense of accomplishment. However, it does no good to set an unrealistic goal that cannot be achieved. This will only lead to frustration and a sense of failure.
"R" stands for relevant." The goal should be relevant to your personal definition of success. The goal should be important to you and serve as a valuable step on your path. It is easy to abandon something that has little value or importance.
"T" stands for "time" sensitive. Set a deadline for reaching the goal. Having a deadline will give you a sense of urgency and motivation. The lack of a deadline promotes procrastination.
Your goals may be positive and may be SMART but you may still be set up for failure. The final tip is to avoid what I call the Trap of the Triple Too's. It's too complicated. It's too long. There are too many.
A goal can often be so large and complicated with so many steps that you flounder just trying to decide where to start. It seems too overwhelming and impossible to face.The goal may also have too long of a time frame. A deadline that is a long time away can be like no deadline at all. There is no sense of urgency and it is easy to procrastinate. There may be too many people involved in reaching the goal. Any goal you set that depends on the actions of someone else is not a goal. It is a wish. All of these traps can be avoided when setting the goal by breaking it down into smaller, short term goals that are specific to actions you will take.
Goals can be valuable tools for your success. Consider taking a few moments right now to set one great goal.
Make it important! Make it SMART! Make it happen!