Can you believe that we’re about to say goodbye to 2017?! It’s around this time of year that I personally take time to reflect. My favorite way to do this is by looking through all the photographs from the past year and remember all the major highlights that I took the time to document. (It’s so silly but I do love to participate in the Best Nine of 2017 that generates your top liked photos for the year on Instagram.) This process gives me such an appreciation for all the blessings in my life, and, ultimately, it drives me to think about what’s next for 2018.
So, obviously, I leap into goal-setting for the new year. As a major Type A personality, I love developing goals every year. Even so, often times I create tons of new goals (new year, new me), but then a few months go by and the goals are completely forgotten. So today, I want to take it a step further to talk about how to create goals that stick! This can apply to any type of goal-setting you might be doing throughout the year, such as developing goals in your next performance review, fitness goals, financial goals, etc. (You get the point!)
First, to create goals that stick you have to set a SMART goal! You’ve probably heard of this before! It’s an acronym that stands for … Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound. But do you always ensure your goals meet these requirements? By doing so, you develop a powerful, well defined goal.
Second, write them down. I’m talking about pen to paper, physically writing down your SMART goals. The act of writing down your goals makes it real and tangible. I even allow myself a mini brainstorm session where I’ll develop a variety of goals under different sections like business, financial, well being and personal. During this time, no idea is a bad one so just write everything down and widdle it down later. Once completed and narrowed down, take the final goals and write them down on a fresh page. Preferably somewhere that you’ll return to often (remember, the whole point is that we aren’t forgetting these goals a few days, weeks or months down the road!)
Next, plan out all the steps needed to achieve your goals. This is the key! It’s easy to think about the goal and the desired outcome, but to make goals that stick break it down to determine all the necessary steps to make it there. Also, by breaking it down to smaller steps, makes it more manageable and digestible. Bonus points by taking it another step further and setting reminders. (I typically just use my calendar on my phone to ping me every two weeks or month or so.) This keeps the goal top-of-mind.
Another thing to do to track progress is keeping a journal, which can be a really fun way to remain accountable. I’ve always been a big fan of journaling, but if it’s not your thing then you can skip this step. Or if you have a shared goal (maybe your family is all working on a fitness goal or you and your partner have a shared financial goal) set up touch bases to keep each other accountable. When you’re all in it together, it makes things so much easier but also harder to forgo the goal entirely!
Most importantly, I believe along the way it is important to acknowledge and reward your accomplishments! Obviously, the goals should motivate you to achieve. If not, then go back to the drawing board and set new goals that do motivate you. But do designate a way to celebrate the successes along the way.
Wishing you a happy new year with goals that stick! Cheers to 2018!