At this time every year I look back at the past year and mentally go through the journey of evaluating what I achieved, where I succeeded, what lessons I learned, where I failed and most importantly what goals and resolutions set on December 31st of 2012 that were completed and which were not.
For me, I look at achieving goal as part of a plan that requires CHANGE. No matter who we are, when we are faced with need to change we panic and we get anxious as we step out of our comfort zone. We start thinking about all the reasons why we can’t do it, all the excuses why we will never achieve what we set up to do like: I am too busy, I do not have enough support or I do not have enough connections, or I do not have enough love in my life, or I do not have the right degrees and the list goes on.
This is the longest post I ever written, get ready to initiate a new way of thinking about resolutions and goals that you can actually achieve by nudging yourself a little, or a lot depending in where you want to go. Start feeling comfortable with the uncomfortable, embrace who you are and what you have as skills and talents, be kind to yourself before being kind to anyone else and start setting your goals.
Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts using your resources, know what your obstacles are, what are your distractions, strong and weak points
First close your eyes and try to dream and see yourself where you want to be on December 31st of 2014? Whatever we focus on, we see, whatever we fear we draw near. This is a powerful concept with significant implications for both your personal and organizational lives. What we see is deeply influenced by what we expect, we are what we THINK we are.
Dreaming is fun, creativity is free to flow, all dreams are attainable but are not a final step, and it all starts with a plan. Someone said the difference between a dream and achieving a goal is timeline and accountability. Everybody dreams only few make their dreams a reality. Dreams become a reality when they solidify into a vision that takes on a life on its own.
Start with the basics, there is actually a process and blank spaces to fill to start setting your goals. They start by having a Vision and a mission statements
- Vision Statement: inspires you, inform others what you will accomplish in the future. It answers the question WHY. It is emotional, define your core values and apply them.
- Mission statement: Describes what you do, where you are going, How different are you, where you are headed. It answers the WHAT and the HOW, it defines the purpose
Then take a deep look at yourself: Are you a procrastinator meaning you always postpone something that needs to be done to later; either because you do not know where to start, or you are scared, or you are overwhelmed?
Do you live a “Victim” life and suffer from Victimitis, or the Why me syndrome, or it will never happen to me syndrome?
Do you waste your time on tangents that do not add any value to your day or yourself? Do you believe in yourself and your skills? Are you kind to yourself? Are you accepting of whatever comes your way?
What are the higher steps you need to climb to unlock your full potential? What are the “buts & ifs” that you need to eliminate from your scenarios? What mindsets might you need to change to stay ahead?
- To be happy, what should I be doing that I am not doing now? And what am I doing now that I should let go? What does personal happiness means to me and to me alone?
- What does success means to me and me alone? How can I be a success in one area of my life while being a well-rounded person with a wide range of interests and knowledge having a work-life balance throwing in time for self, growing and spirituality
- What are the limiting thoughts that occupy my mind?
- What compromises I need to do to achieve the levels of happiness and success that I am seeking?
Once you finish with the above, you already broke your first obstacle, it is a progressive process. Then think about your goals in a S.M.A.R.T. way:
Everyone’s definition of success is different, define yours and do not get sucked into other people’s dreams or definitions of success. Emotionally charged goals immersed in your passion are the best motivators, and reason for your commitment and dedication. You need to take responsibility of your life- Make yourself accountable, for all events either unforeseen or uncontrollable.
S.M.A.R.T. goals are the blueprints of the objectives along with the steps you will take to achieve your stated goals.
- Specific: Provides a distinct picture of the goal and clear guidance on actions to increase success. Answer the questions – Who, What, Where, When, Which, Why. You need to have details and specifics, just having general goals will not work for example it is better to say I need to lose 20 pounds than saying I want to lose weight
- Measurable: What you can’t measure you can’t control. In the example above losing a certain number or pounds like 3 pounds a month is a measure
- Achievable: Challenging goals initiate better performance as long as they are achievable in the same example 3 pounds in a month is achievable 20 pounds in a month is not and will result in a person giving up
- Relevant: Goals have to make sense to you and you alone if not you will have no commitment or dedication to achieve them
- Time-Oriented: You have to have a time limit if not you can try achieving your goals all your life. In the same example: Losing 20 pounds in 6 months
How do I set my goals?
- First you must dream! Dream of everything you ever wanted throughout your life.
- There are no limits, let your imagination go wild. Ask yourself, “What would I attempt to do, if I knew I could not fail?” “What would I want for my life if I knew I could have it?”
- Make your goals inspirational so that it continuously motivate you
- Be very clear on your goals
- Use Present tense not future to get a sense of achievement for example say: “I am a great speaker” instead of “I will be a great speaker” the difference has a tremendous effect on your subconscious and how your body and mind reacts to the power of words
- BELIEVE, BELIEVE, then BELIEVE that you ARE accomplishing your goals. Use the power of affirmations (positive thoughts) that have been mixed with emotions and faith. Faith is the unshakable belief knowing that you know what you need to know that will take you to the next level and you have all the skills and talents needed.
- Brainstorm, you can do it with other people too
- Write your ideas down on paper and decide which ones are the most important to you. (Remember that 97% of the population will not write their goals out. You are different, you are in the 3% of the successful population! Write them out. Do it now.)
- Review what you have written down on paper.
- Now it is time to define your dream precisely. Which of these goals are most important to you, and why? Use the SMART method
- On a fresh piece of paper, write down one goal at a time. Tackle the big picture then divide it into smaller achievable challenging goals with a realistic deadline.
- Evaluate your progress based on your measurables making changes if needed to your action plan. Never lose sight.
10 Principles to set goals
- Unlock Your Potential and creativity; you have more that you know you have, take Charge of Your Life, be accountable for your actions, and create Your Own Future
- Affirm that you can do it or you will find a way to do it
- Clarify Your Values, determine Your True Goals and decide Upon Your Major Definite Purpose
- Analyze Your Beliefs, Start at The Beginning and Eliminate Obstacles
- Get around the right people, let go of the toxic people in your life that just whine, complain and spew negativity
- Manage your time well, do not procrastinate, do something and review your goals every day. Measure your progress
- Review your goals daily
- Visualize Your Goals Continually. I personally believe in the power of Vision Boards
- Have Faith and persist
- Celebrate and Reward yourself. Most of the people always forget to reward and celebrate their wins. Celebrate your smallest victories even with a scented candle.
Happy New Year and May all your Dreams come true – Make them come true- YOU CAN!
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