I’ve never been a fan of setting New Year Resolutions. In fact, I might be crazy but I don’t think I have ever actually set any! Not that I can remember anyway…
This doesn’t mean that I’ve never actually aspired to achieve anything, it just means that instead of waiting until the start of the year, I like to grab the bull by the horns and set ‘resolutions’ to start NOW.
I’m sure I’ve seen a meme floating about in cyberspace which goes along the lines of ‘A dream written down becomes a goal’. For such a small statement, it’s very profound and something which I aim to incorporate into my life. With so many target-setting meetings and appraisals thrown at us in the world of work, I think it’s really easy for us to forget that we need to have goals in our personal lives as well.
Firstly, let me explain a few things that I have learned about personal goal setting. Over time your personal goals can change and that’s totally OK! You might find that you’ve achieved something huge, but then feel a bit underwhelmed. Or you may find that instead of feeling underwhelmed, you feel motivated to want more. Other times you can achieve a goal and
I’ve made a note of a few tips that you can use to help you set and stick to your personal goals:
Sit down with a cup of coffee (or wine, I won’t judge!) and have a good think about what goals you’d like to achieve in your life. Jot these down on paper, no matter how small, large or crazy they may seem to be. I actually like to use sticky notes for this step, as the next thing you need to do is arrange them into short, medium and long term goals.
I personally like to use these timescales, but feel free to adjust them slightly to suit you:
Short Term – something which can be achieved within the next 3-6 months
Medium Term – 6-12 months
Long Term – 1-5+ years
Try not to set too many goals in the short-term section; I recommend no more than 5. Any more than this and you won’t be able to focus enough energy on achieving them. The idea is that you can get these things done, and then look at moving one of your medium-term goals into its place.
2. Set SMART goals
An example of a non-SMART goal would be to lose 15lbs ASAP.
Think about it like this:
Specific – you would like to lose weight
Measurable – the target is 15lbs
Achievable – losing this amount in a month isn’t achievable for the majority of people (no matter what the facebook ads claim!), so don’t set yourself up to fail from the start.
Relevant – it has to be relevant to your lifestyle goals, e.g. there’s no point aiming to lose weight if you’re about to embark on a month-long tour of the country’s best cake shops! (If only…)
Timed – A sensible timescale could be up to 1lb per
So in this case, the goal can be written down as:
In the next 5 months, I would like to lose 15lbs.
3. Make it visual
This could be in any way that appeals to you, such as:
- Create a pin-board and stick it somewhere that it won’t be missed.
- You could dedicate a page in your planner/diary
- Print it out and stick it on your fridge
- Save an image or list as the background on your phone
4. Record your starting point
Decide on a start date and record your current status. E.g. record your current debt total or savings amount. Take a body photo, or record your measurements if you’re targeting weight loss. Get a ‘before’ photo of a room that you plan to declutter or redecorate.
The reason this is important is so that if you start to feel disheartened or that you’re not getting anywhere, you can look back at your starting point and see that you have made some progress.
5. Get some support
Share your plans with family and friends, ask them to help you stay focused and support you on your journey. If you’d like to keep it a bit more private, then there are numerous forums available online. A quick Google search will point you in the right direction. There will also be various Facebook groups or Instagram pages and hashtags as well. The internet is an amazing tool, use it!
6. Break it down
Breaking a large goal down into smaller chunks can really help with motivation. You don’t have to aim to climb to the top of the ‘mountain’ in one go; instead, break it down into smaller chunks. For example, you can aim to achieve 25% as your first chunk, and by setting this amount as your short term goal instead of the whole amount, you’ll feel accomplished when you cross a line through it.
Consider breaking down a savings goal of £5000 into 1% chunks. Each chunk would be £50, and you could make this visual with a simple 10×10 grid. Each time you save your 1%, try marking a square off on your grid. (Only 99 more to go…)
7. Get serious and challenge yourself!
I’ll get straight to the point here; without some serious hard work and effort, you won’t get very far. The more effort you put in, the more you will get out of any goals which you’re trying to achieve. Do NOT give up at the first hurdle and do NOT break down if things get a little bit tough.
8. Reward yourself
Review your progress regularly and d
Whether your goals are to eat healthier or learn a new skill, read more books or travel to your dream destination I hope these tips will inspire you to get started right now!
If you have any more suggestions I’d love you to let me know in the comments, or you can send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org