There is about a week left until January 1st 2020. This is the time of the year when we are all excited to tackle popular resolutions such as: I want to lose weight, eat healthier, and save more money. By mid-January, the resolutions people make typically fail. People give up on good intentions and fall right back into old habits. As we enter a new decade, let’s break this cycle by setting goals instead of resolutions.
What is the difference between a resolution and a goal?
A resolution is defined as a firm decision to do or not to do something. A goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort: an aim or desired result. When we talk about the New Year, resolutions are the first thing that comes to mind. We make promising decisions do to something but, what happens after we declare the decision? How do we carry them out? We typically don’t. Instead of doing the same thing this year, take a look at these goal-setting methods you can apply to your life.
Quarterly Goal System
I’ve found that using a quarterly goal system works best. It’s like a football game. The quarterly goal periods are 3 months at a time, or for each of the 4 quarters in a year. After, creating long term yearly goals, you create focused action steps for each quarter. Instead of having a bunch of one-year goals with no direction, the quarterly goal system, gives you manageable tasks that are achievable. Here is an example of my quarterly goal system for the first quarter:
Prior to the start of a new quarter I create new action steps based on my progress in the previous quarter. For example, I will create my Q2 action steps by March 31st. Doing this allows me to reflect on the past quarter and focus on goal execution. I look forward to doing this at the end of every 3 months! It allows me to be proud and appreciate the small steps I’ve taken. Usually I treat myself to something nice for working so hard.
I encourage you to use the quarterly goal system and crush all of your New Year goals! Effectively achieving goals work best with this method, in my opinion. This may seem like a lot, but it’s all about organization. Once you organize your goals, aligning your steps will become much easier.
The S.M.A.R.T Method
Another popular approach to achieving goals is the S.M.A.R.T method. It is an anonym that allows you to make sure your goals are clear and attainable.
- Specific ( simple, sensible, significant )
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating )
- Achievable (agreed, attainable).
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based)
- Time bound ( time-based, time-sensitive)
How to Use S.M.A.R.T
Your goal should be communicated clearly and specific. Without having a clear goal you won’t be able to focus your efforts or feel motivated to achieve it. When brainstorming about you goals, aim to answer the five W’s : Who, what, when , where, and why.
Determine how you will keep track of your progress. How can you measure progress and know if you’ve successfully met your goal? Tracking progress helps you to stay focused, meet deadlines, and feel the excitement and motivation of getting closer to achieving your goal.
Goals need to be realistic and attainable. While it’s good to have a goal that pushes you hard to achieve it, you also don’t want it to be too extreme. The goal is meant to motivate you not to discourage you. Think about how to accomplish the goal, if you have the tools/skills need, what resources you need and how you can gain access to them.
When identifying your goals be sure that your goal matters to you and is aligned with what you are doing in life. This allows you to value the goal and make it a priority. A relevant goal would answer “yes” to these questions:
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Does this match my other efforts/ need?
- Is this goal in line with my long-term goals?
Every goal needs a target date, something that motivates you to focus and discipline yourself to achieve it. This establishes a sense of urgency and prevents goals from being overlooked by our day to day activates. We all know that one person that says “I’ve been hoping to accomplish things but I’ve been busy” (ha it used to be me) Crush that way of thinking and make time to focus on your goals ! Mark the date when you want to achieve the goal on your calendar and hang it up. Therefore, you are reminded of your self-imposed deadline daily.
By applying one of these methods to your life, you will be well on your way to knocking goals off your list left and right. The power and effectiveness of goal-setting will allow you to realize your true potential. Take control of 2020 and make it your year!