At the beginning of each year, I go for an early morning hike with my dog and think about what a great year looks like. When I get home, I then take about 30 minutes creating goals that add meaning to my life and excite me and save them on my computer so I can refer to them often (don’t be afraid to revise your goals as needed). First, I pick key areas I want to focus on such as career, financial, community, learning, healthy living, relationships etc. Then I write key goals in each area. And finally, I include as many bullet points as I can to help me figure out how I am going to complete my goals.
So let’s focus on you!
If Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, called you and offered a free first class ticket would you know your destination? The best way to create a fulfilling and fabulous life is to set goals. These goals become your destination. You may want to change careers, get promoted, be in a loving relationship, or learn a new skill such as the piano, photography, or cooking. Whatever it is, you need to know where you want to go.
So instead of starting another year with resolutions that you don’t keep, use these six goal setting tips to start off on the right foot. Many articles give you so many tips that it’s a bit overwhelming. I’ve intentionally selected only six tips so you can use them all and make an immediate impact in your life.
1. Why is the Goal Important? Be very clear why you are setting a goal. Is it because your family wants you to do something or does the goal matter to you. Is losing weight really important to you? Are you willing to make other sacrifices to make this goal a reality?
2. Start with the Ideal Situation: This is your chance to dream. Imagine that you have a blank slate, and you can be and do whatever you choose. Start with that image and then work backwards to see what’s possible right now. Don’t worry about the obstacles when you are getting started. Think about what the ideal vision is for you.
3. Write Down Your Goals: You’re probably like so many people who like to keep everything in their mind instead of on paper. Well let me tell you a little secret about these folks, they are the same people who rarely follow through on their goals. When you write down your goals, you start to see where you want to go and it’s easier to make decisions because you have a destination. Most people spend more time planning their vacation than they do creating goals.
4. Pursue a Goal that is a Tier One Priority: You probably have many things that are important in your life. Write down all of your goals above and then check the ones that are most important to you. Your tier one goals are the ones that will make the biggest impact on your life. They are the most important goals. They are not necessarily the goals that help you make the most money or get you promoted but rather the goals that add a deeper sense of fulfillment to your life. Perhaps you want to finish your degree, get out of debt, or change jobs. Whatever is meaningful to you is what you should be pursuing.
5. Craft Clear-Cut Goals: Many of us think vague goals are our friends but actually they just derail us in our mission. If you’re planning to get better at golf, be a better leader, or stretch more in the new year, you will need to be much more specific. Say your goal out loud and honestly ask yourself if it’s clear what you are trying to do. It’s also helpful to share your goal(s) with a trusted friend. Being clear helps you set priorities.
6. Set a Target Date: This is a tough one but it needs to be done. Just saying that you are going to write a book or lose weight is not really saying anything. Does that mean you are going to write a book in the next five years or lose weight sometime in your lifetime. If you just started working at a new company, it’s probably not realistic to say that you will be promoted tomorrow but it might be reasonable to set a goal to be promoted within six months or the year. You will have to decide what’s doable given everything else going on in your life. Either way, it’s helpful to have a date that you are working toward.
Remember to take small steps and to have fun. The process is challenging but you will feel amazing when you move outside your comfort zone and do what you thought was impossible. Please keep me posted on your progress and stay in touch with me on Facebook or Twitter. If you need additional inspiration, please check out the goals section in my book, Living In Your Top 1%. Good luck and have fun!
Believe in yourself,
Alissa Finerman is an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Brookfield Property Partners, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Dress for Success. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook