Somewhat ironically, one of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to get better at setting and achieving goals. It’s easy to make a list of things you want to do and accomplish, but as for working out the logistics of how you’re going to get there, and then actually getting there? Now that’s a whole other story.
If you’re in the same boat as me, and would like to see your New Year’s resolutions- or whatever other goals you may have- into reality, read on for some simple tips on how to actually achieve your goals!
1. Seek Inspiration
Instead of viewing your goals as burdens, find new lenses to cast a positive light on them. Seek inspiration from YouTube, blogs, books, etc. Looking to external sources for new perspectives on goal-setting and go-getting can be eye-opening and refreshing, and help you look forwards to chasing your goals instead of dreading it.
As well, doing adequate research can make your goal-undertaking go much smoother, and even be fun! For instance, if you’re the type of person who loves to plan things out, you can create a schedule for achieving your goals, and kill two birds with one stone: gain motivation while doing something you enjoy. Often, the process of accomplishing your goals is even more rewarding and valuable than the end product, so find ways to get the most out of it!
2. Less is More
If you’ve ever operated on a packed schedule, you’ll know how hard it is to focus and get stuff done when you have a million other responsibilities floating in the back of your mind. To get rid of unnecessary distractions, stick to setting a few goals. One to three to focus on at a time is usually a good amount, but you can call the shots based on what you know you can manage and how time-consuming or difficult your goals are.
Make sure that you prioritize and choose the goals you know will make a real difference in your life and are the most important to you. Choosing quality over quantity will help reduce the amount of unimportant tasks you have to spend your energy on, and thus free up more time and effort to be expended on the goals that matter most to you.
3. Be SMART
Ever heard of the acronym SMART? Usually used in business organizations to set and reach objectives, SMART can be applicable to our individual goals as well. SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. There are tons of templates and explanations you can find online for setting SMART goals, but here’s a brief outline:
- SPECIFIC: Focus on the 5 W’s to draft a goal that’s easy to understand, visualize, and achieve. What do you want to accomplish and what resources will you need? Why do you want to achieve this goal? Who is involved? Where will it take place? When will you make time to work towards it and when do you want to achieve it by?
- MEASURABLE: This is how you quantify your goals to stay on track. What are some tangible benchmarks you can look for to measure your goals? “Getting better grades” is difficult to measure, but “Maintaining an average of at least 80%” is much easier to assess.
- ACHIEVABLE: balance what you want to get done with your skills and abilities by setting goals that are realistic. Winning a million dollars, for example, might not be the most achievable goal, but working hard at your job to get a promotion and earn more money, would be one. Setting goals you can actually reach helps keep you motivated, because you know you’ll be able to reap the fruits of your labour in the end.
- RELEVANT: This is where you examine the ‘why’ of your goal in more depth. Is your goal worthwhile of pursuing? Does it align with your other goals? Do you have the means to achieve it? Is now the right time to be pursuing it? Before committing to a goal, check to make sure it’s right for you.
- TIMELY: Don’t be hasty, but do hustle. On a daily basis, when will you make time to work towards your goals? Where do you want to see your progress a month from now, in a year, five years? Keeping your goal-setting timely helps you see the big picture– where you want to be in the long term- as well as the small steps you can take every day.
Goals are great in that they give us the motivation to move forwards, and standards to hold ourselves to. However, it’s important to remember that our happiness should not be dictated by whether or not we reach these goals. Having objectives means added pressure, but it’s the way that we regard this pressure that makes all the difference.
If you can’t achieve all the things you promised yourself you would, you’re not a failure. Sometimes, setting goals is as much about learning to recover from setbacks as it is about sailing smoothly to success.