Entering the New Year – Time to act
In part 1 of this article series, we talked about the importance of reflection and how it plays a part in goal setting. We discussed how we can better identify successes and failures and grow from them if we sit down with our previous goals and reflect on the results. In part two of this article series, we’re going to introduce some simple goal setting techniques that can help you stay on track this next year! New Year’s resolutions may seem “overrated” but I promise, there is more to creating these resolutions than buying a gym membership you’ll never use after January.
So what is goal setting? And how does one start with the right goals? Well, hopefully your moments of reflection in the last month helped you form ideas of where you want to be a year from now. Goal setting is fairly subjective. The process in writing goals down is universal, but the goals themselves, well those will change drastically from person to person! Let’s start with breaking goals down into three categories: Duration (short term, or long term goals), Personal (goals set revolving around growth of self and relationships), and Material (goals set towards career, financial, material growth). With these three categories, you can begin to apply the time-frame to the different material and personal goals you set for yourself. For the sake of this article we are going to talk about long-term goals: goals we wish to accomplish in one year.
When writing your resolutions down, we want our year-long goals to fall under these criteria: S.M.A.R.T – Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely.
Specific: You want your goal(s) to be specific. It doesn’t have to be a multiple sentence goal, but add details. Instead of saying “I want a new car” add specific details to the kind of car you want, make, model, color and even price!
Measurable: Are you able to track your progress? Material goals are simple, in that we either get/achieve what we set for ourselves, or we don’t. Personal goals require a little more abstract thinking in determining how they can be measured. You want to write down goals whose progress can be easily tracked.
Achievable/Realistic: It can be hard to figure out what may be realistically achievable and what might not be. My advice here is to be conservative in some ways, but dream big in others. Don’t be afraid to write down some goals you may not achieve the first year. There’s always next year!
Timely: We briefly touched upon duration of goals. Your New Year’s Resolutions are yearly goals! For your New Year’s Resolutions, follow this criterion to help you create your list of goals that you will place somewhere visible every day to see over the next year.
Setting goals for the New Year doesn’t have to be difficult, as it can be daunting when the future is so unknown. Rather than getting hung up on the unknowns, begin visualizing yourself attaining your goals. Visualize specifics of the goal; visualize how it would feel to achieve that goal and describe the feelings of achievement. Visualizing can help you step into the shoes of the new you, before you’ve actually changed into the new you. It’s a great tool to help you in the journey of pursuing your dreams. Remember, goal setting is not about having to achieve every single goal you ever create for yourself – sometimes our lives change in ways we could never have predicted, and so our goals must change with them. One thing that is most important in this process is to enjoy it. Goal setting and achievement is a process, a journey, that is missed if we are only focused on the end-result. Take in each milestone towards your goals, and reward yourself along the way. Enjoy the process of becoming who you want to be, and enjoy the New Year full of Light and Shine!