Imagine its December 31st 2017, and you look back over the year and say ‘this has been the greatest year of my life’ what needs to happen for you to say that?
Did you know that only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually succeed in achieving them? That’s a 92% failure rate! For years and years, I was one of the people in that failure bracket. I wrote down a whole lot of vague resolutions, and then forgot about them all year by the time January 1st came around again, I had no idea where my previous resolutions were or what they were and I just repeated this cycle again. That was many years a go, until I learnt how to effectively set goals and actually achieve them by using the tools I’m going to share.
- Write it Down
And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run”. Habakkuk 2:2 (The MSG)
The first step to achieving a goal is to know in specific detail what you really want.
”If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there” . Lewis Carroll
This is usually the fun part and my favorite thing to do. I let my imagination go as big as it possibly can. I think about what I would like my ideal life to look like, in specific details. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Then take time to write them down, as detailed as you possibly can. All successful people in whatever arena of life have clearly defined written down goals, why? Because not writing them down is just an excuse for you to forget about them.
Does writing your goals really work or is it just a myth? Well, a study was done about goal setting in the Havard MBA programme.
Harvard’s graduate students were asked if they had clear, written goals, as well as if they had made specific plans to transform these goals into reality and also if they consistently looked at and reviewed their goals. They found out that only 3% of the students had written goals and plans to accomplish them, 13% had goals in their minds but hadn’t written them anywhere and 84% had no goals at all. After 10 years, the same group of students were interviewed again and the conclusion of the study found that the 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down, earned twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, 10 times as much as the other 97% of the class combined.
The acronym S-M-A-R-T is what’s usually used in goal setting and in order for those goals to materialise.
S – pecific
M – easurable
A – ttainable / Action oriented
R – elevant
T – time bound
Specific: Vague goals produce vague results. Instead of writing something like travel more, make it specific which countries/ cities you would like to travel to, and when you want it to happen. By setting vague goals, you are actually setting yourself up for failure!
Measurable: The brain is a goal seeking mechanism and when you give it a goal, it will go to work to find ways for you to achieve that goal. Make your goals measurable so instead of writing ‘save money’ say I will save 10% of all my monthly earning = £5000 in savings by Dec 31st
Attainable/ Action oriented: ‘Do something everyday in the direction of your goals’. What can you do on a daily basis to move you towards achieving your goals?
Realistic: As much as you should dream big, the goal should be realistic and true to who you are. E.g it would be totally silly for me to write ‘go to the moon by Oct 2017’ Why? because I’m not an astronaut to begin with and for me personally, this is very unrealistic. If I had that as a 10 yr plan then that would be more realistic and I could work towards it.
Time bound: Goals should have a deadline otherwise they are just wishes. If they are life goals, then they are not so much time bound but if they are things you need to achieve in a year or two years, you will need a deadline and this is what will help the brain to go to work and push you towards achieving them.
I recommend you write down your top 10 goals for 2017. Why 10? because too many could be overwhelming and cause you to feel demoralised and too few might not give you enough motivation.
Happy goal setting, Please let us know in the comments what goals you will be writing down for 2017.