We all know the benefits of goal setting from providing focus to allowing us to create the future we desire. However, some people openly admit they do not belong to the goal setters club. They reason it is because they seldom accomplish the goals they set. The truth however is that we can all be part of the goal setters club. The key is to ensure you are setting your goals in the correct way and have a system you follow to accomplish them.
It all begins with when you set the goals in the first place. We are now in the last quarter of this year, meaning you should begin setting your goals for next year. Avoid waiting till the beginning of the year instead, start giving thought to what you want to achieve next year now. This will give you time to concertize your plans and by the time the new year comes around, you are ready to roll.
Below I share five rules on how to effectively set your goals for next year and ensure you accomplish them.
Think Big but Plan Small
With goal setting, you need to begin with your end in mind. What results are you aiming for? where do you want to see your self at the end of the year? At this stage do not even worry about the how instead focus on the why. Determine what is driving you to desire those results. Once you have that big picture in your mind put it on paper. Using this Goal Setting Worksheet will allow you to capture your big picture into what I call your Focus 5. Experts on goal setting advise that in order to be effective in your goal setting, you should set between 3 – 5 goals at a time.
Once you have captured your big picture, begin to work on the actions you are going to take to achieve those goals. These actions should be broken down into what you will do quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily.
For example if one of your goals is to work less and enjoy more balance in your life. You could start by establishing why you work too much in the first place. Maybe it is to make more money so you can get out of debt. Start by asking yourself what you can do every quarter to move you closer to achieving this goal. You could decide to start a budget to help you see where what you are earning is going. Now this can be one of your quarterly goals. It can also be a monthly goal since in most cases you are paid monthly. From the month, determine what you can do every week to help you get to your goal. It could be having a weekly meal plan to ensure you eat out less and save the money. Finally your daily action could be to ensure that you prepare the meals on your weekly meal plan.
You see how you started with a big picture but when it comes to execution, you are breaking it down. This Goal Setting Pyramid demonstrates the process you have to go through.
Embrace the 12 Week Year System
In the book below, Brian Moran makes a case for why we should move from looking at achieving our goals in 12 months and instead look at achieving them in 12 weeks. He reasons that one of the things that hinder achievement of our goals is annualized thinking. That is, thinking there is plenty of time in the year to take action on your goals. This he says removes the sense of urgency required to take action on your goals every week. He advocates that we get rid of annualized planning and instead embrace periodic planning using the 12 week system. Using this system ensures that each week is treated as being important in achievement of your goal.
He advises that you narrow down your focus to 1 – 2 items and focus on these items for the 12 weeks. This will automatically move you from mediocre performance to peak performance every week. With the 12 week system, you are always achieving and by the time the year ends, you will have accomplished your goals.
You can use this Weekly Planning Sheet to plan your week and ensure your actions are contributing to your big goals.
I recommend this book if you are struggling with productivity and achieving your goals.
Always Keep Your Goals Before You
Another rule in setting goals effectively is ensuring that you always keep them before you. What usually happens is people begin the year in high gear they write down their goals and keep the paper somewhere. By the end of the first quarter of the year, they will have forgotten what they wanted to achieve in the first place.
This is when the use of vision boards comes in. They allow you to paint mental pictures of what you want to have once you have achieved your goals. Brain Tracy advises us to ensure that we look at our goals everyday. He says this programmes the subconscious mind to go to work and look for ways to achieve those goals.
I recommend using this Monthly Planner which can enable you see your goals every month. It will allow you to break your goals into weekly actions which move you closer to achieving the goals for that month. There is also space for you to make notes and have an inspirational quote to spur you to act on your goals.
Make Each Day Count and Celebrate Little Wins
In order to accomplish the goals you set, you need to do something everyday to draw you closer to your goal. This is when the ideas above of planning small and embracing the 12 week year come into play. When you see yourself registering small wins, it motivates you to keep going knowing that your goal will ultimately be achieved.
Avoid making the mistake of only focusing on the big goal and forgetting the impact the little steps you take have. If for example your goals is to exercise at least three times a week and loose some weight. Look for pockets of time you can use to achieve your goal. If yesterday you had one hour to work out but today you can only spare twenty minutes. Embrace those minutes and make them count for the day. It is still a win and is enabling you to achieve your set goal.
Experts in effective goal setting advocate that you focus on the systems you put in place to allow you achieve your goals. Always remember, it is what you do each and every day that will eventually contribute to your overall result. As you begin to register progress on your goals celebrate the achievements you make this will motivate you.
That my friend is a simple but effective system you can adopt for setting and accomplishing your goals for next year.
I would love to know have you been successful with the goals you set for this year? Please share in the comments section.