The start of a new year has many of us setting goals, whether at work or in our personal lives.
Pick goals that motivate you
If you are setting a personal goal, start with something you really want to accomplish and are motivated to work on. Don’t start with the most dreaded item on your list. You’re more likely to continue setting new goals and accomplishing them once you have proven to yourself that you CAN do it. In the workplace, we don’t always get to set our own goals. Find one part of your goal that really motivates you and focus on that to keep you moving forward, even if it includes other parts you’re not so thrilled about.
You have probably heard of SMART by now. It stands for: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. The goals you set should be very specific. Vague goals will never motivate you to get them done, but if you are specific, you know exactly what you are hoping to achieve. Measureable means that you can track your progress in some way. Whether it is steps in the process or percentage of completion, being able to measure your progress will encourage you toward your outcome, or give you a kick in the backside if you’re falling behind. Attainable is setting goals that you can meet. If you set a goal that is simply out of your reach, you will only get discouraged and probably stop setting goals. Realistic is really up to you. You must be willing and able to reach your goal, but how realistic it is really depends on how much effort you are willing to put in. Unrealistic goals can also be very discouraging and hold you back from setting new goals in the future. Timely means that you set a deadline. If you set a deadline as ongoing or vague, you might just keep pushing it off. Set deadlines and meet them!
Write It Down
This may seem oversimplified, but if you don’t write your goals down and keep them handy, it is very easy to forget about them or shove them to the side. By writing them down, you are making the effort to show and tell yourself that you mean business. Place a copy of these written goals somewhere that you can see them, even daily, if needed.
Break your goals down into action steps. Remember, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The same thing goes for achieving your goals. Establish a plan that breaks it down into parts that you can tackle or steps you need to take. But have a plan! If you don’t have a plan, you most likely will not follow through on achieving those goals.
Possibly the most important step – Don’t give up. Never stop. If you have a setback, just start again. Backtracked or lost your way for a bit? Tomorrow is another day to start anew. Goals aren’t usually achieved or completed in a day. They take time, planning, purpose and perseverance. So buckle down, keep fighting, and keep moving forward. You can accomplish your goals!