Unfortunately by now many of the goals and promises we made for the new year or now broken, forgotten or revised. Why is that? Because we are conditioned to look ahead, to get better, to want more and to improve. Get the latest gadget! Work Harder! Lose five pounds in two weeks! The focus is usually on major things like what you can change, upgrade or do differently. The involve breaking old habits or establishing new ones and that does not happen over night.
To help increase your chance of achieving your goals in 2014 I suggest two key strategies for goal setting: Continuing what is working and short-term review of goals. The first is to start by looking back at the past year and reflect on what is working well, what you are most proud of, and what you want to keep doing. This approach helps to focus on what is working, what we want like and want to keep doing, or remember things we used to do but don’t seem to do any more. This approach avoids the grandiose goals of “get healthy”, “work less” or “have more balance in my life”. All wonderful outcomes of goals but we need the structure of how and why to achieve these results, which doesn’t fit into a tweet or text message. The “How and Why” of a goal is necessary. We need to define the action in order to achieve success.
The second key is to have a short term focus, with more frequent check-ins to see if our goals are still relevant and if progress is happening. Unlike most work goals, our personal goals are not as time bound and therefore they can fall off our radar. We need to find a way to keep ourselves accountable.
Do this quick exercise to create your goals and a system of check-ins to keep you moving towards your goals.
1. Start by writing down what you are really proud of accomplishing in 2013.
2. Ask yourself, what do I want to keep doing this year that I found enjoyable or what has been working for me?
3. Review these items and ask yourself “Why” do I want to keep doing these things?
4. Add 2 to 4 new goals for the year? Jot down a few steps on How you will specifically go about taking steps or actions towards accomplishing these goals now?
5. If you are able to come up with reasons then ask yourself, How will I feel when I have accomplished them.
6. Put these goals in a safe place. Tell at least one person what you are trying to achieve.
7. Around St.Patrick’s Day in mid-March check in on your goals. Assess how they are going? Make adjustments.
Setting short-term goals increase your chance of ultimately achieving what your want. It keeps you on track and feeling successful. Frequent check ins around the holidays through the year keeps your goals on your radar and provides regular opportunities to add, remove, or revise your goals. All of these things keep your goals relevant. The more relevant the more likely you are to keep taking steps to achieve your goals.