The New Year is a time when many people establish goals for the year ahead. The New Year Resolution. The pursuit of the goal usually starts enthusiastically, but frequently runs out of steam as the year progresses. And that is often accompanied by feelings of failure such as “I can never achieve anything”; “This is hopeless, I will never change” and so on.
What can you do to ensure those goals are achievable?
Goals fall into six areas:
- Career goals
- Relationship goals
- Financial goals
- Personal goals
- Health goals
- Learning/development goals.
It is helpful to know which area your goals fit into, but more about that later.
Before setting goals you need to do three things. The three ‘P’s: Ponder, Project and Plan.
This involves reviewing the past year positively.
- What went well last year?
- What am I grateful for?
- What about the last year do I appreciate?’
This will help you to see the achievements you made in the past year. It will help you to realise how much you achieved. This will help you to be more positive about being successful in fulfilling your New Year goals. It will demonstrate your ability to succeed. You cannot achieve any goals if you do not believe you can achieve them.
Once you have identified and been grateful for all those achievements of the past year, you can identify some goals you hope to achieve in the New Year.
- Write out what you want to do.
- Consider the emotions you feel around each goal. It is important to understand the emotional importance of a goal.
- Look at the goal.
- What do you want to achieve?
- Is it achievable?
- Is there another way to achieve this?
- What might get in the way of you achieving the goal?
- How important is it for me to achieve this?
- What steps are necessary to achieve this goal? Write them out.
- How do you expect life will be when you achieve your goal?
- What will your family/friends say is different about you?
- Who will be the first to notice the changes?
- How committed are you to achieving this goal?
Once you have considered all the aspects of your goal, then you can move on to the planning stage.
- It is vital you write your goal down. Also write down the steps you will need to achieve in pursuit of your goal.
- Put the actions you need to do into your diary.
- List specific things to do as you plan your week/month/year. Naturally the find details of your goal are things you can only plan in the short term.
- Make sure you give the goals actions high priority in your diary. There is no use putting down an action to complete ‘if there is no time’. It will never be completed. This is why so many goals fail.
I mentioned earlier there are six areas we set goals in. It can be helpful to understand which area your goal fits into. This helps you decide its importance and to give you the motivation to pursue it. For example: You decide to pay off a credit card debt during the year. You know this is a financial goal. But what is the actual goal. What do you hope to gain from paying off the credit card? Your answer is that you want to put more money into savings. Perhaps you want to save up and visit family. That is a relationship goal. Perhaps you are sick of renting and want to buy a home. That is a personal goal. This deliberation gives you an immediate goal, to pay off that credit card debt and a longer term goal family or home. Now you plan how you are going to pay off that debt and you note actions in your diary. You also note your progress in paying off that debt. You have achievable steps that you can watch and use as encouragement when the goal seems to be so far away. You can also motivate yourself with the thought of what it will be like to be able to save money for the longer term goal.
Setting New Year goals is a matter of choice, just as setting any goal is a matter of choice. You may want to do this or you may not. But now should you decide to do it, you will have some practical steps you can follow.