The New Year is just around the corner, and the talk of the town is ‘New Me’.
Side note: Why is that we always want a ‘new us’ at the start or end of a year? Why not in the middle of the year?
But one thing I always see is that people say they want a new them but they don’t exactly think about what it is they need to do to become that new person. Or, another scenario is that they know what they want but they don’t exactly go about achieving it the right way. This, is where goals come in handy.
But wait, I already have goals. I want to lose weight and I want to read more books! Yada, yada, yada… I know what I’m doing. Does this sound like you?
So, it may seem that you have a goal in mind but more than likely they’re too general and broad or they haven’t really been thought about properly. And when goals are like this, you will more than likely not stick to them. Just think about it. How many ‘new me’ plans have you tried to do at the end of every year so far? And how many of these plans have you actually stuck to?
I believe that everyone needs goals. Big goals, small goals, teeny tiny goals – just something to aspire to and achieve. But setting goals isn’t as easy as people make it out to be and sometimes we go about it the wrong way. So I’ve decided to write about the framework I use to set my own goals in the hopes that it might help and inspire you too.
1) Reflect and analyse your achievements so far
Reflection is such an easy thing to forget about because it’s not really something we’re encouraged to do. I was first introduced to reflecting in one of my previous jobs and I genuinely don’t know why we’re not taught how to do this in school.
Reflection is important because it gives us clarity. It makes us really think about things and, in a way, see things in a different light. So before you decide on a goal, reflect on what has been so far. And most importantly, reflect on your achievements so far because we sometimes get lost in our misfortunes and tend to think we have zero accomplishments.
Once you’ve established your achievements, analyse how these occurred. What did you do for this achievement to come about? Did you have to take certain steps? Did it only happen because of something else? Really delve into the insights because it’ll help you later in setting a plan to meet your goals.
Tip: if you tend to be an over-thinker (I hear ya!) try just writing down the first achievements that come to mind and make a list of them. Don’t think about them too much at first. Just write them down and think about them later.
2) Write down what it is you want to change
At the end of the day, we’re only human! So, we’re bound to want to change something about ourself and that’s ok. But so long as you’re changing to better yourself and not for the benefit of someone else. Number 1 rule – if you want change, want it for you and remember that perfection is not achievable.
Tip: try steer away from goals that tend to be for vanity reasons. For example, ‘I want to be more beautiful’, or ‘I want to be skinnier/curvier/taller/shorter’ etc. Firstly, being beautiful is subjective and it is highly influenced by media and all the likes, so if this is your goal ask yourself this – ‘why do I want to be more beautiful?’. Secondly, if these are really the goals you want to achieve, start by asking yourself why it is you want to achieve these. Is there something else that’s maybe pressing down on you that’s making you feel unhappy about your appearance? This goes back to changing for you and not for anybody else :*.
3) Write down your goals, the SMART way
Its time to write down your goals. Just write them down, all of them. Make a list if you have to. Once you’re done, read over them. Are they SMART goals?
Why do my goals need to be SMART?
SMART stands for
- Specific – focus on one thing at a time!,
- Measurable – how are you going to measure your success?,
- Achievable – keep it realistic, can you really meet that ‘earn €1m in 1 month’ goal with no plan?,
- Relevant – is the goal suited to you and your life right now?, and
- Timed – how long is it going to take to achieve your goal?.
If you stick to the SMART way of setting goals, you’re more likely to set goals that will actually work for you and in turn it’ll motivate you to keep going when times are tough. It’ll also really help you think about the goals you are setting and whether you should be aiming for that goal right now. Sometimes we want something but in reality it’s not meant for us right now.
4) Think about what you need to achieve your goals
Now that you’ve established your SMART goals and written them down, its time think about tactics. What exactly do you need to achieve your goals? Do you need a trusted friend to check up on you every now and then? Do you need to write things down every day to stay motivated? Do you need certain tools to help your journey? It’s really where you think about the smaller things that will help you achieve the bigger things. Don’t be afraid to roll up the sleeves and really delve into your resources for this part.
Tip: Create a spider diagram with buzzwords. This can help you jot things down quickly at first without over thinking.
5) Create a timeline with sub-goals
No goal is a goal without an end date. Yes, your goal must be achieved at some point in time for it to actually matter. Otherwise, you can’t really call it a goal.
With each goal that you have, think about when you want to fully accomplish it. Once you’ve figured out your end date, break that goal into smaller sub-goals with a shorter timeline for each. I recommend doing your sub-goals in chronological order, with each sub-goal coming closer to your end goal.
Sub-goals are the small things you’re going to do to achieve your bigger goal. They’re necessary to keep you on track and you can have as many sub-goals as you want. Even sub-sub-goals and so on. Whatever floats your boat really! But if you stick to a timeline with sub-goals that are easier to achieve in the short-run, you’ll be more motivated because you’re more likely to accomplish them.
Tip: Picture the tip of an umbrella. That is your goal. Now picture the ends of the umbrella, those are your sub-goals. The closer to the tip you get, the more your sub-goals start to intertwine to eventually reach the end goal.
I hope that this method of creating and setting goals will be of some use to you. Feel free to reach out to me if you want to discuss anything or share this with someone you know who’s struggling with goal setting. And as always, I’d love to hear some feedback – regardless of whether it worked for you or it didn’t. I’d especially appreciate the feedback on areas of improvements. I’m all about the feedback.
I wish all of you a Happy New Year & thank you for taking the time to read my blog.