As 2017 comes to a close, it is a great time to reflect on how far we have come this year and also acknowledge where we have fallen short. It is also the time of year when we start making plans for 2018.
Have you thought about 2018 yet?
For many people, thinking about doing better in the new year means compiling a list of New Year’s resolutions.
If you are like me, I’m sure you have done this on many occasions. And like me, I am sure every resolution you made was broken within a few short weeks or months at the most. 80% of New Year’s resolutions are broken by February. According to one study, only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are kept.
If this information is true, why do people continue to make New Year’s resolutions?
One reason is resolutions are easy to make. It requires little thought or effort to jot a few resolutions down.
Another reason is the allure of starting the new year with a fresh start.
Still, another reason is the long tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions. Most people want to be like everyone else.
Rather than continue making resolutions about things you WISH were different involving things you are not ready to change, this year set several meaningful goals that you WANT for yourself and you are ready to achieve.
Goal setting can be a big key to your success in 2018. And writing your goals down can make all the difference.
Do I detect a little doubt?
Gail Matthews of Dominican University conducted a study and found that those who wrote down their goals, tracked their progress and shared their goals with a friend accomplished significantly more than those who didn’t.
Wouldn’t you want to accomplish significantly more in 2018?Writing down clearly defined goals with a plan to accomplish them makes all the difference. Click To Tweet
We can’t talk about goals without remembering the time-tested acronym S.M.A.R.T. for goal setting.
Make your goals are specific. It is easier to set general goals but much more difficult to accomplish them. Take the time you need to set specific goals.
If your goals are specific but can’t be measured, how will you know you reach your goal? You have to have measurable goals.
Your goals can’t be unrealistic. They must be attainable. If you make them too easy, you won’t be challenged. If you make them too hard, you may be overwhelmed. Michael Hyatt describes the three zones of goal setting.
The comfort zone is too easy and you should avoid this one if you truly want to grow. The delusional zone is an area inhabited by the extreme. This is not a good place to be. The discomfort zone is the perfect place to be. Goals that challenge and stretch you are perfect goals.
Your goals must be relevant to you, your family and your life. It does no good to set a goal and achieve it if it doesn’t mean anything to you. If the goal doesn’t help you achieve something in an area of your life that is needed then why do it.
Great goals have a deadline. Putting a time stamp on your goals will act as an additional motivator to help move you forward. An end date creates a sense of urgency. Without a deadline, it is easy to drift along unsure of what to do next.
Here are a few examples of the type of S.M.A.R.T. goals I am talking about.
Example #1: I will read one new leadership book every two weeks in 2018.
Example #2: I will complete my application to attend the FBINA by April of 2018.
Example #3: My spouse and I will schedule a date night once a week throughout 2018.
Example #4: I will research the requirements needed to start school at XYZ University by April of 2018 and complete my application for enrollment by June of 2018.
Example #5: I will rigorously exercise 20 minutes a day, three days a week in order to lose 20 pounds in 2018.
Areas of Life to Set Goals
Goals should be set for every area of your life. How you define these areas is up to you. I have seen these areas divided into 12 categories, 10 categories or even as little as 5. To keep it simple, I like these five areas.
- Career & Financial
- Fitness & Health
- Personal Growth
Now that you have set your goals and written them down, what else do you need to do to have a better chance of success?
There are three simple steps you can take to help you achieve your goals in 2018.
The first step is to make sure you identify the action steps needed for each goal to move you forward. It is not enough to have a big goal, you have to have a path to reach that goal as well.
The second step is to share your most important goals with friends, co-workers or accountability partners. Who you share your goals with is important. Share them with someone who will encourage you and help hold you accountable.
The final step is to keep your goals visible, either print them out or have them on your computer, and review them regularly.
Progress can fuel acceleration!
In closing, avoid setting New Year’s resolutions for 2018. Resolutions are easy to set but harder to keep. If you really want to achieve more success in all areas of your life, set clearly-defined goals. Write your goals down, share them with an accountability partner and get to work.
I pray you have a Happy New Year!
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