Set SMART Goals this New Year
New Year’s Day is often a time for setting New Year’s Resolutions for many people. But for many, this often does not translate into formalized goals or achievements. Therefore, we often find ourselves setting the same goals year after year. But, the process of setting goals is quite important and actually quite easy. So, this year, don’t just go through the motions of setting resolutions. Take some time to set realistic goals for yourself and lay out a play to achieve them using the tips below.
So why set goals? Well, there are many benefits to setting goals for your future. Here are just a few:
- Goals give you focus: Having a goal can help concentrate your time, energy and focus which can help you produce the best results and reach your end goal more quickly. Without a goal, your time and energy will likely be diffuse and therefore lead to things like procrastination, or aimless effort.
- Goals allow you to measure progress and success: Goals, especially short-term goals, help us to measure progress. Being able to see progress can be incredibly motivating. Think about that to do list that you write. Doesn’t it feel good to check things off? And, when you see that you only have a few items left, aren’t you often energized to just knock them out?
- Goals help you to overcome procrastination: When you set a goal, you are creating a structure of accountability for yourself. Creating accountability helps you to stay focused and avoid distractions. For example, I have tried to sit down and write this blog for the past couple of days and each time I get distracted by emails, calls, or other work. So, today I set a goal to complete half of it by lunch. And now, each time I am tempted to check my email or do something else, I am reminded of the goal I set for myself and stay focused.
- Goals motivate: Motivation comes from desire, purpose, and the reasons behind why you want to accomplish something. Having an endpoint helps drive you towards success.
- Goals help you set priorities: There are many forks in the road of life. Although it can be enjoyable to go with the flow at times, most of us have a destination in mind. Goals and visions help provide a natural framework to help you take you make the right decisions for you and your future.
So, now you know some of the reasons behind why setting goals is important and helpful. Now, lets talk about how to set effective goals. The most helpful framework for this is the mnemonic SMART.
For example, I would take this goal, “I want to write a blog,” and rewrite it as “I want to write a blog on New Year’s Resolutions by January 1, 2019,” using SMART.
In addition to using smart, hear are some other tips for goal setting.
- State each goal as a positive statement: Positives motivate.
- Set priorities: Too many goals at one time can feel overwhelming and be distracting. Prioritize you goals to help you stay focused and driven.
- Write goals down: Writing goals makes them more meaningful. Also, hang them in a place where you can see them daily.
- Write short-term goals: Short term goals help keep us on track, help motivate us, and help break down long term goals into more achievable steps.
- Set performance, not outcome goals: Goals should be based on things that we can work to achieve. If we set outcome goals, we don’t take into account that there are some things that may be out of our control. Effort over outcome is always more helpful.
- Set realistic goals: While setting realistic goals can help motivate us and be rewarding, setting unrealistic can do quite the opposite. When setting personal goals, make sure that they are things you can actually do and realistically follow through on.
Use these tips to make goal setting a regular practice in your life. Wish you and yours a Happy New Year!