Most people will pause at the start of a new year to think about the upcoming months and what they would like to accomplish. Many people approach a new year with a list of Resolutions, those big items that can be life-changing if completed. Too often they are not.
It makes sense to first take stock of what you have already completed from your list of goals. Actually, reviewing and updating your goals should be done at regular intervals, say quarterly or monthly, depending on the length of time needed to complete your goals. This process helps you see where you are right now in relation to where you want to be. And we all know that having a map won’t help you get where you want to go if you don’t know where your starting point is.
Once you have reviewed your progress and where you are now, you can begin the fun part of goal setting. Yes, the FUN part! This is where you get to brainstorm and think BIG about what it is you want in your life. Do not censor your ideas, just take out some paper and ask yourself this:
What do I want my life to look like in 5 years? In 3 years? In 2, or 1 year? And just write down everything that comes to mind. Here are some examples:
- Live in a house with an ocean view
- Successfully support myself working from home
- Be 30 pounds lighter
- Travel to Machu Picchu
- Attend Wimbledon with 3rd Row seats
- Be a published author
These are some of mine, off the top of my head. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to get out all the big dreams that are covered in cobwebs, as well as the continuing goals you already have.
Now, look over your list. Pretend that this list is in the present. If your life is now everything you have on your list, how would you feel about it? If you aren’t dancing or jumping up and down or at least smiling, you need to add some bigger, better stuff to your list. If you are, then you are ready to take the first step to making it all reality.
Remember that there are various areas of your life that you may want to set goals in. These areas are:
- Career/Financial – how you earn, spend and invest money
- Social – your relationship with friends, family, community
- Personal – your mental health, self-esteem, happiness
- Intellectual – stimulating your mind, learning, trying new things
- Physical – health, exercise, eating habits, medical care
- Spiritual – your values, beliefs, life purpose
Let’s start by putting your list items into each of these categories. It is important to be happy and healthy in each area, as problems in your work, for example, can spill over and wreak havoc in your relationships or your health. All of these parts of your life are interdependent, so it is recommended to have goals in each of them.
Next, pick the most important items from your list and write them as goal statements. This means writing it in a way that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed (this is the SMART way to set goals). As an example, here are a couple of mine:
- Have my finished Happiness eBook for sale on Amazon by March 30 (Career/Personal)
- Lose 30 pounds by June 30 (Physical)
- Save $100 or more each month in my Machu Picchu fund (Spiritual/Intellectual)
These are SMART goals. These are the statements you should write up and hang on your refrigerator, or computer and see them every day. They can still seem bigger than necessary to ensure your success. For instance, Lose 30 pounds by June 30 is a goal statement that meets all the SMART criteria, but it may make more sense to set mini-goals to reach it.
- Walk/Gazelle for 20+ minutes 5 times each week
- Eat 5-7 servings of fruits/vegetables each day
- Have a protein shake each night at 8 pm- then brush teeth
- Yoga stretch for 10 min in AM/PM 5 or more days/week
Now there are more specific goal steps which will make the larger goal easier to achieve. I know what to do, and I can keep track of when and how often I do them. Do this for any goals which will benefit from breaking it down into smaller, easier steps.
Use these goals and mini goals to keep track of your progress. You may want to reward yourself when you meet mini milestones along the way. This will do wonders for your confidence and motivation to keep going.
Lastly, having accountability to yourself and your success can make all the difference in the achievement of your important goals. The moment you commit to anything, the moment you believe you can do something, things in the world start to happen to help you along. But, you have to take a step, do something every day to make it happen. You are the winner, the beneficiary of the benefits of completing your goals, so make a promise to yourself that you are worth the time and energy required to enjoy the rewards waiting for you. You are also the one who loses out when you don’t reach your goal. How will you feel next year when you do this again, and have the same goals? Either they aren’t what you really want, or you do not think you deserve them.
And you’d better believe that you are capable and deserving of much more than you can even imagine. So, start today to make your ideal life your reality. Here’s to your massive success!