5 Steps to setting goals that work in 2016

It’s the start of a new year which means a new beginning to take control of our lives, achieve our goals and kick ass in 2016. Hopefully by now you have shaken off the Christmas food coma and are free of the New Year’s hangover and are optimistic about all the goals this year that you have set out for yourself.
If you have done this (which is a small minority) then that’s great! I will look forward to seeing how you progress as the year progresses. If on the other hand like most, then you haven’t set any goals.
If you haven’t set any goals as yet then it’s not too late, let’s get started today! I will explain; what’s the deal with goals? Why are they so important? How to achieve your goals in 2016?

What is a goal?

Simply put, a goal or setting a goal, means that you have a clear objective and focus all of your attention and effort towards achieving them.
When writing a goal, it is best to make positive statements that can be broken down into tasks, which are to be completed on a daily basis.
By setting goals on a routine basis you decide what you want to achieve, and then move step-by-step towards the achievement of these goals. The process of setting goals and targets allows you to choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know what you have to concentrate on to do it. You also know what is merely a distraction, or procrastination! This allows you to work out what serves your dream life or not. Kinda cool to be able to make that distinction!

Why Set goals?

“If you want to be successful, find someone who has achieved the results you want and copy what they do and you’ll achieve the same results.” Tony Robbins
Top-level athletes, successful business-people and achievers in all fields, set goals. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. It focuses your attainment of knowledge, and helps you to organise your time and your resources so that you can make the very most of your life.
By setting sharp, clearly defined goals you will be able to measure and take pride in yourself which holds you accountable and enables you to see progress in areas that may have been unachievable previously.
Once you start making progress toward your goals your energy and self-confidence will grow in your own ability and you will start to create momentum, which helps you to keep going.

How to set goals?

If you haven’t really set goals before or you have but didn’t achieve them, then setting goals can be a very daunting task. I remember it took me a few goes before I started to really make it a habit. The two best ways to learn is education and practise.
I learned a lot from reading books by industry experts in this field such as Steven Covey, Anthony Robbins and Brian Tracy. I would highly recommend reading any of the books these three guys have written, particularly Brian’s “Eat The Frog”.

Steps for setting goals

Step 1 – Setting your goals
The first step in setting personal goals is to consider what you want to achieve in your lifetime or 10 years from now. Setting long-term goals gives you the overall perspective that shapes all other aspects of your decision making.
Here’s some categories to consider setting goals in; attitude, physical, health, education, family, career, financial, philanthropy, interests/activities etc.
Its recommended that you find some time on your own with no distractions to really determine what goals you want to achieve. You need to choose your own personal goals and not ones that your parents, employer or family might want. (however if you have a partner I would consider what he or she wants, just stay true to yourself). Write down as many goals as you can in each category, then I would suggest prioritising 3 – 5 goals to focus on.

TIP: When setting out your lifetime goals you need to establish WHY you want what you want. By establishing an emotional connection to the goal will help remind you why you wanted to achieve this goal. Know “Your Why” helps you to keep going when things aren’t working out for you.

Step 2 – Create an action plan
Once you have your long-term goals you now need to break down those goals by setting milestones.
I personally break it down like the following but you can set out your goals how it will suit you.
– Life time goals
– 5-year plan
– 12-month plan
– 90-day plan
– Daily to-do lists
If you would like to know more information on setting out your action plan, I can highly recommend this article The most effective goal-setting plan you’ll ever find.

To make your goals more powerful you should adapt the SMART mnemonic.
• S – Specific
• M – Measurable
• A – Attainable
• R – Relevant
• T – Time bound
For example, instead of having “to run a marathon” as a goal, it’s more powerful to use the SMART goal “To have completed the New York Marathon in under 3 hours by December 31, 2017.” Obviously, this will only be attainable if a lot of preparation has been completed beforehand!

Step 3 – Review your goals
Staying on course is the hardest part about setting goals. Once you’ve decided on your first set of goals, keep the process going by reviewing and updating your To-Do List on a daily basis.
Periodically review the longer term plans, and modify them to reflect your changing priorities and experience. (A good way to remind your-self is to set reminders in your calendar)

Step 4 – Take action
If I had to choose one quality that increases a person’s chances at success more than anything else, it would be taking action.
ACTION is THE KEY to SUCCESS. Absolutely nothing is more important than being proactive.
No amount of positive thinking, studying, reading books, attending webinars (although these things are important) will ever substitute you taking action.

Step 5 – Be accountable
So many people create goals, start off enthusiastic, and then fade after a short period of time. A proven way to help stay accountable is to have a “goal buddy” and speak regularly. Whether it’s a mentor, your partner or a like-minded friend having a goal buddy can help you out like a personal trainer does for our fitness. Having someone in your life to hold you accountable to your goals really helps. A weekly / fortnightly check-in call or catch up where you share what progress you have made will keep you on the right track.

TIP: There are some great programs out there now that allow you to input, track, measure, and review your goals. Strides, Lift, Habit Seed and many others all do similar jobs for you – keeping your goals and habits top of mind.

So there you have it! Hope this article helps you understand the importance of goal setting. If you don’t already set goals, do so, starting now. As you make this technique part of your life, you’ll find your career accelerating and you’ll wonder how you lasted so long without it!

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