With the celebrations behind us and a New Year on the horizon it’s time to plan for the best of 2017! What do you want to accomplish this year? Maybe you’d like to work on your health, your marriage/relationships or get your finances in order this year. Whatever is most pressing I’d like to encourage you to be intentional working toward bringing those plans to fruition.
I’m a dreamer at heart; however, I’m learning to become more intentional with planning and implementing actionable goals. With a new year comes all the small talk about new years resolutions among friends and family. Truthfully, I’ve never been one to get hung up on New Years resolutions. Resolutions unlike goals seem like a daunting task to me, the road to resolutions seems fuzzy and unclear. “Of course I want financial freedom, of course I desire to become more fit and eat healthier, etc., but how is that possible? I’m in the trenches of a bad cycle…help!”
Let’s be clear this is not a post on avoiding or banning resolutions rather looking at goal setting as the key player to a new resolution. Look at it this way, while resolutions may be great goal setting is the guide, the foundation to attain those desired resolutions.
It’s been my personal experience that in order to achieve or accomplish something, I must first have a plan then proceed by taking small steps in the right direction…slow and steady. The following criteria may sound familiar to some of you and will serve as a refresher. For others this may be the start to a dream put in to action! So without further ado, let’s break down the criteria for goal setting. There are different variations of this S.M.A.R.T acronym, which I use as a guide.
The basic criteria for goal setting:
Your goal must be specific and clear. Get as specific as possible!
Good Example: “I want to pay off my credit card debt, X amount of dollars by July 1,2017”
Have a measurable goal. Keeping track of your progress is motivation to finish strong as you inch closer toward your goal.
Good Example: Use a spreadsheet to list and track debt paid off. You’re able to visually see the dent you’re making toward paying off your debt whether it’s biweekly or monthly.
Your goal must be attainable and sound. Set goals you are able to achieve. There is nothing wrong with dreaming big; however, remember slow and steady. You do not want to get discouraged because you set the bar too high, start smart and your confidence will soar as you achieve your attainable goals, gradually lift the bar.
Good Example: Paying off X amount of dollars of debt by X amount of time. This will look different for everyone depending on your current and personal situation.
Set realistic goals! Setting a realistic goal can be tricky. A goal that can stretch and challenge you is good; however, setting a goal that is too simple or too difficult may not be such a good thing. Use your best judgment here and a good measure of common sense.
Good Example: Focusing on paying off one credit card at a time then moving on to the next one until you reach your ultimate goal.
Make sure you have a specific date to reach and complete your goals. That date keeps you accountable and should keep you working toward your goal.
Good Example: Set a tenative date by which you’d like to complete your goal, e.g. July 1, 2017.
So, whether you are thinking in terms of New Years resolutions or not I think we can agree that in order to reach a resolution we must have a plan, a course of action and that is why implementing the practice of goal setting is crucial.
If goal setting is a new practice for you, I want to encourage you to start with just a few goals. Chose a couple of goals you would like to reach from the categories of family/marriage, finances, spiritual, personal and health. Write them down, plan them out, place them somewhere you can see them daily and share your progress with a mentor, partner or someone who is well vested in helping you achieve them. Don’t forget celebrate and acknowledge your progress!
What do you aspire to achieve in 2017? I’d love to hear from you!
Happy goal setting!