Goal Setting For the New Year

For as long as I remember, I have given myself yearly goals – around the New Year – to accomplish in my personal and professional life. Not resolutions – goals. I document them in my journal. Throughout the year I reflect on how close I am to accomplishing those goals – Whether it is doubling my bank account, reading more, being there for family, being happier, etc. My goals never include exercise because that is a vice of mine and I know would result in instant failure. However in the past I have given myself wiggle room and committed to living a healthier lifestyle.

At the end of the year, I look back on the previous year’s entry and reflect on what I have accomplished and what I need to work on. Then I set my goals for the New Year.

For 2013 I had an 86% success rate! That is right – I achieved 6 of my 7 goals! Over the years I have fine-tuned this system to make it work for me. Now I am willing to share my lessons with you.

1. Set multiple goals for yourself. Not too many. I would say under 10. What is great about this is if you fail on one you have multiple chances at succeeding on others.

2. Spread your goals out across multiple areas of your life: Personal well-being (health, money, hobbies, outlook on life), family, friends, professional life, etc. This way you are improving multiple areas of your life at once.

3. Write your goals down. This helps to hold you accountable and to remind yourself of what your goals were.

4. Check in a few times a year to see how you are progressing and if you need to make adjustments in your life to achieve those goals.

5. Never cross out a goal.

6. Don’t set yourself up for failure. When setting your goals think “Is this possible to achieve?” “Can I really do this?”. (Often I make my goals vague and not pinning myself to a set achievement – i.e. living a healthier lifestyle vs. exercising more.)

7. Take a (yearly) break from failure. If you don’t achieve the goal from the previous year, don’t add it to your list the following year. (Often I take a break from that aspect and focus on another area of my life).

8. Commit. If you are going to do this system – commit to it. You may have a bad first year but a great second year. Don’t give up on it to soon! It may take a little time to see and feel the progress in your life!

This system has worked really well for me. There have been years where I wasn’t as successful as I hoped – so I made a mental note to commit more in the following year. A great way to get my butt in gear.

Good luck! Here is to a successful 2014! Happy New Year!