The beginning of the year is a great time to make new resolutions and set goals. Of course, this goal review can happen at any time of year but is best if it is something you commit to doing regularly to keep yourself on track.
I like to use the new year as a time to review and re-assess my yearly goals because although I may get lazy about doing it… I never forget that it’s that time of year!
How to Set Goals for Success
1. Review Prior Goals
In order to create new goals, you need to evaluate any prior goals you may have made first. Are there any you would like to delete or amend? Are you making progress towards them in the way you would like? Why or why not? Use this information to re-energize the goals you are still working towards. To help, check out this free new year resolutions & review printable from Modern Parent Messy Kids
2. Set New Goals
To create new goals follow your dreams. What do you hope and wish for? What would you like to bring into your life, or what would you like to change?
To help answer these questions I like to brainstorm what my wishes, dreams, and goals are in each area of my life. Feel free to add or subtract anything you’d like from this list–make it your own. Have fun with it by making it reflect every area of your life that is important to you.
- Financial well-being
- Health & Wellness
- Household Management
- Creative Pursuits
- Personal Care
Write each category down on its own sheet of paper so you have plenty of room to work. Some people like to put each category at the top of the page to make a list, while others like to put it in the middle of the page to make a mind map–use whatever technique works for you.
Begin by asking yourself questions about what you dream of or would like to achieve in each area. Don’t worry about logistics yet. We will be breaking these down into more manageable steps later. Focus on getting everything you can think of down on paper.
Don’t worry if anything you write down looks too lofty or overwhelming at the moment. Just keep writing. Get it all down and out of your head. Projects you’ve always wanted to start, projects you’d like to complete. All of it… just keep writing.
When your finished start fine tuning all of these dreams, wishes, and projects into goals. Begin by making them SMART:
3. Make goals SMART
The “SMART” acronym was originally coined 30 years ago by Peter Drucker in his classic work, Managing for Results.
SMART goals are:
Specific–Goals need to be as specific as possible. When setting goals they should answer questions related to who, what, where, when, why and how. Instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” try for a specific goal such as I will lose 20 pounds by next Christmas.”
Measurable — Goals must be measurable. If a goal can not be measured how could you assess whether or not you are making progress? “I’m going to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day 3-5 days per week” is much more measurable than, “I’m going to exercise more.”
Attainable — You can not achieve what you don’t believe. Each goal should be something that you believe you can accomplish. Setting goals that seem unattainable is a recipe for failure.
Relevant — Goals should be relevant to you and your current life situation. Does it fit with your personality? Is this something you should be doing now or later? Would doing this add to your life in a positive way?
Time-bound — Setting a due date or time frame for completion helps both helps keep you on track and keeps your goals measurable. Having time-bound goals helps you monitor and assess your progress. Instead of stating, “I want to make a six-figure income,” try saying “I want to be making six figures five years from now.”
4. Setting Goals: Create a Master Goal List
Once you’ve made your goals SMART create a master goal list. To do this, take out a clean sheet of paper [or create a word document] and write down your top three goals in each area of your life. Examples of categories that you could use are listed in #2 above.
5. Setting Goals: Choose Top 3 Goals
Next, take out another sheet of paper [or create a new word document] and write down your top three goals from the master list that you most want to get done now. These are usually the ones that hold the most passion or are time sensitive in some way.
6. Setting Goals: Find Balance
Choose goals that balance and support each other. I am a firm believer in the idea that you can only give away what you first give yourself. Selecting a self-nurturing spiritual practice such as getting outside, bible study, yoga, meditation, or exercise as one of your goals builds balance and contributes to the successful completion of your other goals.
Next, choose 2 more goals that balance and support each other. If, for example, I knew I would be moving during the year I would make moving one of my goals because it is both something that I have to accomplish and it is time sensitive. I’m going to move whether I’m ready or not so why not prepare for it by making it a goal?
Last, I would choose the goal of getting organized, simplifying, or decluttering to support the move. Or, I could choose something business or career related to keep myself on track in that area of my life during the move. These goals would both support each other and keep my priorities in check. Make sense?
Once you have 3 goals that support and balance each other, put away your master list until your montly goal review. This will give you a jump-start the next time you make resolutions and/or set goals.
You did it! You have three shiny new goals all set to accomplish. Congratulations, job well done!
You’re well on your way now…
Many people say that the key to attaining your goals is writing them down. Kudos to you. You’re halfway to living the life of your dreams!
For next steps on attaining your goals see How to make an action plan to accomplish goals.
If you liked How to Set Goals, You may also like:
- Why I Turn My Goals into Affirmations
- Complete a Monthly Goal Review
- Get Organized for Good: Establishing a Daily Rhythm
- How to Use The Power of Habit to Change Your Life
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