It is almost the New Year which means a fresh start for most people. It is the time when individuals begin to reflect on their past and refocus on the present. Some of us are happy with our lives at the current moment; others are hoping the New Year may bring with it a new job, stronger relationships, a promotion, etc. Whatever you wish for in the New Year, below are a few tips for setting and achieving those goals.
First, express your goals. It is hard to see a goal come to fruition if you have not yet determined what it is that you want. Give yourself some time to reflect on what you would like to see happen in the New Year. Ask yourself what is it that would make me happier; is it less time at work, a new job, a desire to be more social, or to be smarter about saving money.Setting goals can give you both short term motivation and a long term vision with incentive. Write your goals down and place them in a spot where you can be reminded of them.
The good news is that most goals can be accomplished if we create a plan and stick to it. The hardest part can be actually following through with the plans we set.
Think about it, how many of us vow to lose ten pounds after the holidays only to find ourselves three months later stuck with a gym membership and a holiday gut that refuses to go away. Life, children and family can get in the way until we find that we are no longer going to the gym three times a week like we did in January, now it is more like three times a month (if we are lucky). So how do you prevent that from happening?
According to MindTools.com, “a useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic”
S – Specific (or Significant).
M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
T – Time-bound (or Trackable).
For example, instead of having “get a new job” as a goal, it’s more commanding to say “Secure a new job by December 31, 2015.” When you set a deadline for yourself it can drive you to work harder. “Putting in dates and times allow you to measure achievement. If you do this, it will be easier to know exactly when you accomplished the goal, and you can take satisfaction in having completed it“.
Make smaller goals for yourself. If you want to lose ten pounds in the New Year, perhaps you can plan to lose 5 pounds by June. Once you have completed that goal, you can create another one. If the first goal you set for yourself was too easy, then make the next one harder. “I am going to lose another 5 pounds by October”. “Or I am going to start sending out resumes in January and I want to be interviewing and working with a recruiter come March”. Smaller goals are easier to accomplish and help move us towards the “bigger picture”.
Breaking your goals down is not the only step in accomplishing them. You cannot complete anything if you do not give yourself the time to work on it. Factor in time, specifically geared towards accomplishing your task. Allow yourself a couple hours each week to focus on your overall goal. If you want a new job spend those hours refreshing your resume, sending out applications, or talking to recruiters.
Set realistic goals. Think; is it realistic that you will find and be hired at a new job by next month, probably not. If you give yourself 6 months to acquire a new job that can be a little less intimidating. So be realistic about what you can achieve in a given amount of time. Not allowing yourself enough time may cause you to become discouraged or overwhelmed.
Remember some goals take longer to accomplish, and not all plans will work out as “planned”. But that is why having a “smart” strategy, and allowing yourself room for mistakes will help deliver you to the results you want.
With time your goals will change. It is okay to adjust your target if you want to.Maybe you have tried finding a job and nothing seems to work out so you get tired of it. Perhaps starting a new job, or moving, or whatever else your goal is motivating at first but then become daunting as time goes on. Bumps along the road are inevitable, but if you want to see your goals accomplished your best bet is to stick with it. That is why it is essential to know what you want to accomplish out of your goals and why. If finding a new job is what you want because you are not happy with your current position; try to not let the challenges entice you to walk away. Remember the outcome will most likely be worth the struggle.
And when you do complete your goal, like finally landing that job of your dreams or losing those 10 pounds reward yourself.
You worked hard, and you deserve it.