We’re close to the start of a new year, and with that comes resolutions, checking items off our bucket list, and a whole new set of goals. In January, many of us will be reflecting on the types of goals we’d like to set during the new year.
So maybe we should take a closer look at what that means. For the most part, it’s pretty easy to say we’re going to do something. But how can we make it stick? We set our goals, and we usually drop the ball somewhere along the way, and our long-awaited plans never reach their full potential.
A study at the Dominican University of California conveyed a direct correlation between goal setting and achieving success. We set the goals, but ultimately if we don’t achieve them, we fall short of the success we also strive for. So, it’s not only essential to set the goals; it’s crucial to achieve the goals.
Let’s dive into the world of goals and look at helpful goal-setting tips to be a little more successful in the new year.
Why is Goal Setting Important?
The goals we set help to create our life. If you want to create an extraordinary life, you first have to know what success would look like for you — on the job or in your personal life. So it’s important to set the goals around what success would look like for you. That’s where goal setting comes in. Goal setting is the practice of identifying specific goals you would like to accomplish in your life.
Without goal setting, we have no clear direction in life. Instead, we’re led by situations and circumstances around us rather than us leading our own lives. In short, if you want to create the life you desire in your personal life or your work life, you have to set clear goals for yourself. If you’re looking for some direction as to how to do that, you can look at my upcoming Goal Setting Workshops.
Goals Give a Sense of Direction
Consider where you want to be five years down the road. When you take the time to think about what you want in life, this gives you a sense of purpose and something to strive for. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. But if you do know, you can set the goals you need to get there.
Goals Motivate You
Once you can see clearly what you’d like your future to look like, setting goals towards it gives you something to aspire to. Having specific goals will not only bring clarity but will keep you motivated.
Goals Give You Control Over Your Life
You know what you’re working toward when you set goals, which means you’re always in the driver’s seat. By writing down your goals, you actively acknowledge what you want out of life. Then, implementing and carrying out those goals gives you control over your life.
Types of Goals
Understanding that goals fall into three categories: daily, short-term, and long-term, will help you plan your goals. They also help define how far in the future you want to achieve them.
– Daily Goals: Daily goals can be looked at from a few different perspectives. You could have some small goals that can easily be achieved in a day or two. They could also be recurring goals you set for yourself, like exercising. Daily goals can even serve as actionable steps you take to obtain short or long-term goals. For instance, you may want to acquire a degree in a specific field that will take years to accomplish. That means you need to be in class and working toward that degree daily.
– Short-Term Goals: Short-term goals can be goals you’re trying to achieve within the near future, for example, six months to 2 years. You will want to apply those daily action steps to help you acquire these goals.
– Long-Term Goals: Long-term goals are any goals you’re trying to achieve beyond two years. Long-term goals are the hardest to keep up with since they’re so far out. They’re also easy to forget or write off the list. It’s always best to divide the long-term goals into various short-term and daily goals so they’re not forgotten, and you are working toward them.
6 Goal Setting Tips for the New Year
Here are six goal-setting tips that will help you crush your goals in the new year.
1. Embrace Your Fear of Success
Science tells us that our fear of success is stronger than our fear of failure. That’s because success brings more responsibility with more expectations and more opportunities to fail. For instance, what if you get that book published by the deadline, but the sales are low? Start by acknowledging those fears and knowing that everything may not go exactly as planned. It’s important to be okay with that. That can give you a more mindful and productive relationship with your goals.
2. Set Your Goal Framework
This is where you take that deep dive into what you want those goals to be in 2022. Setting goals is not as easy as you may think it is. It’s more than just coming up with a grand idea and deciding to achieve it. It’s about considering what you truly want and why you want it. It’s about knowing what success looks like for you next year and the impact particular goals will have on that success.
So, it’s essential to have some methodologies to set your goals. There are four key frameworks for setting goals:
- SMART – Defining each goal according to certain characteristics (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound).
- SMARTER – Adding the elements of Evaluate and Revise to your SMART goals.
- Stretch Goals – Stretching your goals even further.
- OKR – Involves identifying objectives and key results around your goals.
If you’re interested in learning more about goal-setting frameworks, I go into more detail about that in my article about goal-setting at work.
3. Write Your Goals Down
The recent study linked earlier also shows the effectiveness of writing down your goals. People who write down their goals have a better chance of accomplishing them. Post those written goals, so they’re visible to you daily. You should post them someplace you visit regularly, so you’re constantly reminded of them. For example, if the goals are personal, post them on your bedroom or bathroom mirror or refrigerator. If the goals are work-related, post them on or near your desk.
4. Break Your Goals Down
You probably have some big goals, so start small. Acknowledge the big goal you want to work towards but break the big goal into smaller, more achievable goals. Use a goal ladder by writing your primary goal on the top rung, and work your way through the rest of the ladder step by step incorporating the smaller goals. Focus on a small series of goals that you can control. Some of those smaller goals can likely be accomplished in the upcoming year. Meanwhile, as you’re checking those smaller goals off your list, it can help you feel like you’re making progress, because you are!
5. Develop a Plan
Now that you know what you’re working toward, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get there. Write down some actionable steps you need to take to achieve even your smallest goals. Having a daily action plan will help keep you on track toward those small goals. The most important part about developing action steps is actually taking the steps. So once you’ve written them down, you have to act on them. Start considering what is doable at the start of the new year, and break your year down into smaller pieces by month or quarterly.
It’s a good thing to know how well you’ve done achieving the things you’ve set out to do. So, it’s essential to evaluate your goal-setting performance. That can be done by setting aside a regular time (weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, etc.) to reflect on your goal journey. How is it going? Is it coming along on time? Do you need to change anything or pivot? Are you in line with meeting your next scheduled goal? Remember, goal setting puts you in the driver’s seat. That means you are entitled to make changes or adjust as you need to, to achieve your goal.
Setting goals is the first step toward living the life you want. But it doesn’t stop there. You have to follow it up with action. Plan out your action and follow it up every step of the way. It’s important to evaluate your progress and adjust as you need to. Follow these goal-setting tips closely as you begin to set your goals for the new year. That will help to put you on the path to success for 2022. You can also check out my Ultimate Guide to Effective Goal-Setting At Work here.
Now that you’ve got the gist, it’s time to put those goals in action! Join my FREE Goal Setting Workshop to get your year off to the right start. The Propel Higher Goal Setting Workshop is perfect for any professional, manager, or executive who wants to set goals that will help them advance themselves both professionally and personally for the new year!
Wishing you all the best for a productive 2022!