5 Tips for Goal Setting for the New Year
What are you going to accomplish in the new year? You’ve probably heard the old adage ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail;’ that’s real shit, guys. In fact, simply writing down a goal increases the likelihood that you will achieve it, according to a study by Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University. If you really want to achieve your goals, you’ll need to be more intentional about it; you need a plan. Here are 5 tips for effective goal setting for the new year.
1. Make It Specific & Measurable
When deciding on your goals, be specific about what exactly you're trying to accomplish and your timeline. You want to avoid generalities as best you can. Think about how you will measure your success. For example, if your goal is to improve your sleep hygiene, you could make it a goal to be in bed by 10pm every night.
Using words like ‘more’ or ‘fewer’ are not quantifiable and therefore not measurable. A goal like ‘I want to lose 10 pounds’ is close, but only halfway there. How long are you giving yourself to lose 10 pounds? Three months or one year? The duration, in this case, will dramatically change how you go about accomplishing your goal. You can only measure your success by starting with specific, measurable goals.
2. Be Realistic
Make sure your goal is actually achievable so that you’re setting yourself up for success. Think realistically about what you can achieve in a particular timeframe. For instance, it’s not likely that you’ll make and sell 5,000 handmade products a month unless you’ve got robot hands. Your goal should challenge you and get you out of your comfort zone, but it shouldn’t be out of reach.
In addition, be sure not to overwhelm yourself with too many goals. This year, I’ll have three goals - one for emotional wellness, one for physical wellness, and one business goal. If you have multiple goals, keep them relatively simple and consider the amount of time you’ll need to dedicate to each on a daily basis. If you’re like me, overdoing it on the goals leads to overwhelm and procrastination, which ultimately means that shit’s just not getting done. Let’s keep it simple and start with just a few; we can always add more later.
3. Write Actionable Steps
That same study by Dr. Matthews also concluded that writing down smaller milestone goals, or ‘action commitments’ also improves your chances of achieving your goal. If your goal is a bit more complex than getting more sleep, it really helps to break it down into bite-size actions as it creates a clear-cut path to success and alleviates overwhelm. Not to mention, you can very clearly see your progress along the way, which will keep you feeling motivated longer.
Set up monthly, weekly, or even daily action items that work toward your main goal. I recommend taking it a step further by creating actual deadlines for yourself. By creating these benchmarks, you can measure your success along the way. If your goal is to write an ebook in four months, for example, create deadlines for producing each chapter, but don’t forget to include beginning steps in your plans, such as ideation, outlining, and researching. It might help to start with a braindump of all the steps you can think of. Then, you can organize all your ideas in a logical order and apply deadlines. Trust me, the deadlines will keep you from slacking off!
4. Get An Accountability Partner
For most people, accountability is an important component of their success. Dr. Matthews also deduced that weekly progress reports to accountability partners is significantly more effective in the goal setting process. Having an accountability partner will keep you motivated and on course with your goal, so use that lifeline and phone a friend. Chances are your accountability partner will be a good sounding board for your ideas and push you to succeed.
5. Revisit Your Goals Often
Revisit your goals on a daily and weekly basis, depending on your benchmarks and deadlines, to make sure you’re on track for success. Don’t be afraid to tweak your goals as you go. If you find something is not as realistic as you thought, change the details of your goal. If you fall off track, recognize that you’re human, forgive yourself, and get back on track. Don’t let guilt get in the way of your progress! And remember, it doesn’t have to be a new year for you to set goals for yourself. It’s never a bad time for personal development.
PRO TIP: Experiment
There are many ways to approach goal setting. You may find that an accountability partner doesn’t work for you or that drilling down to daily tasks is too stressful to you. Learning how you work best and applying that to your next goal setting session will only improve your process and your likelihood of triumph.
Try experimenting with unique goal setting methods to see which way works best for you. Some people select a single word as a theme for their goals that year--a word like ‘balance’ or ‘health,’ for example. You can also try testing out long term and shorter term goals to see which format you prefer.
As you know, goal setting and personal development is an ongoing process, so taking the time to learn how you’ll be most effective will only benefit you in the long run. These tips should get you on the right path to accomplishing your goals in the new year. Now, it’s time for action. Take 30 minutes or so today to create your plan and make shit happen.
Share this blog with your accountability partner and get started!