Setting goals is the best way to ensure that things get done. I know a lot of people can find goal setting off putting and feel like they are setting themselves up to fail. This is only the case if the goals are unrealistic.
Of course it can be hard work to achieve your goals – setting them doesn’t give you some magic formula to get things done. What it does give you is something to aim for. A written record of what you plan on doing and when.
Personally, I have a very specific five year plan (which is something I never thought I would say – in the past, I would just flounder around with no real aim) which I break down into yearly goals, all of which have the main goal at their centre.
Setting goals can be quite difficult. Are they too easy? Too hard? Are they really what you want to be doing? These are all things to consider when you start setting your goals. Below are some guidelines to help you set realistic goals that are not only achievable, but will keep you on target to succeed:
See The Bigger Picture
Before you even begin to set individual goals, ask yourself what you want to achieve overall. It could be what you want to achieve this year, in five years, ten years, or your life long goal. Whatever it is, it’s important that you keep the main end goal in mind and ensure all your smaller goals are targeted towards making that happen.
For example, if your goal is to publish a novel in two years time, then doubling your social media following would be a useful goal – you are setting yourself up for success by building up your platform for when the time is right to publish the book.
Consider Your Time
It’s important to know how much time you can realistically put into your goals. You are pretty much guaranteeing you will fail if you attempt too much at once. For example, setting a goal that you will write for two hours each day isn’t going to happen if you know that realistically, you only have forty-five spare minutes a day.
Make the goal fit the time you have available. If that means your two year goal becomes a three year goal, that’s better than making unrealistic goals that you won’t achieve. If you do this, then you will end up disheartened and by becoming disheartened, you are much more likely to give up.
Get The Balance Right
I mentioned at the start of this post that it can be hard to set a goal that isn’t too hard or too easy. If your goals are too hard, then you will reach the end of the year (or the time frame you allowed yourself to complete the goal) and feel like you achieved nothing – even though you did achieve something. If you goals are too easy, you might find that you achieve everything very quickly and then spend the rest of the year twiddling your thumbs.
You want to know that reaching your milestones is possible, but you want it to be challenging. Nothing good is every easy to come by. Building on from the example above, where you have a spare forty-five minutes every day, lets think about a realistic goal.
It’s not realistic that you will want to dedicate literally every spare minute in your life to this – everyone needs some down time now and then. So firstly, think about what you could easily commit to. Ten minutes, three times a week sounds pretty easy. Now, consider that you don’t want it to be too easy. Why not say thirty minutes, five times a week. It’s going to be tough at times, but it’s doable.
If you have a long term plan, and you do find that one of your goals was too easy and you crack it early, bring the next stage of the timeline forward and keep ahead.
Set Measurable Goals
If you really want to succeed, you need measureable goals rather than general goals. It’s no good saying “I want to up my Twitter following” for example. You get one new follower, you’ve done that. You need to put a figure on it. Maybe “I want to grow my Twitter following from 100 to 1500” for example.
It’s also a good idea to set mini deadlines. For example, “I want to have reached 300 Twitter followers by April”. Really think about what you want to achieve and work out exactly what you need to do to make it happen. Mini goals such as this one help you to keep a track on your progress throughout the process and they can help to keep you motivated and moving forward.
Know You Want It
Ultimately, goals are different for each person depending on what you want to achieve and how serious you are about getting it. For example, if we use the writing a novel goals from the first point, this only works if you seriously plan on doing this. If its just a pipe dream (and there’s nothing wrong with that – we all have them) then no amount of goal setting is going to make it happen.
You have to want to succeed. Make sure your goals centre around the things that really matter to you.
Good luck with setting and achieving your 2017 goals. I would love to hear what your goals are for this year in the comments. I will be sharing mine at the end of the month 🙂