The new year has arrived, and most people have declared new year’s resolutions for the year ahead. However, it’s not uncommon to hear about these resolutions being abandoned by the second …
The new year has arrived, and most people have declared new year’s resolutions for the year ahead. However, it’s not uncommon to hear about these resolutions being abandoned by the second or third week of January. For a different approach this year, you might like to try my seven-step goal-attainment process. It’s not just about setting goals; it’s about setting them in a way that will matter to you, therefore creating a higher chance you will accomplish them.
Always keep your end goal in mind when setting your goals. Making progress is a nice thought, but it’s hard to know if you’re making progress unless you know where you want to end up.
In Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” he asks what you want people to say about you at your funeral and instructs you to walk your goals back from that point. For a more positive spin, I prefer to think of myself at my 100th birthday and what I want my guests to say about me while I’m still here. There are many things I want to be remembered for—love, friendship, kindness, generosity and wisdom are a few. Whenever I’m setting any goals, I keep these qualities in mind. Whenever there may be a conflict, I know to opt for whatever takes me closest to how I’d like to be remembered.
We play many roles throughout our lives. Some of mine are mother, grandmother, daughter, aunt, business owner, employer, leader, speaker, teacher, counselor, coach, author, friend and mentor. What are some of your roles?
There are also many aspects of life: work/career, family/home, personal growth, social/cultural, financial, spiritual/ethical, health/fitness and fun/recreation. Each of these eight areas are worthy your attention in the form of annual goals. People who formulate goals at the beginning of the year tend to do so in the areas of work/career, financial and health/fitness. (Read more at www.bit.ly/wheeloflife01.) These are important areas, for sure, but so are the other ones. I’m not saying you must have goals in each of these areas, but I do want you to consider which of your five basic needs are strongest and formulate goals in those areas. Work/career and personal growth tend to be associated with the need for significance; family/home and spiritual/ethical with connection; social/cultural can be associated with freedom; financial and health/fitness with safety and security; and fun/recreation with joy.
It is important to balance the different areas of your life with your basic needs and the roles you play. I find it beneficial to set goals in all areas, but place your time, energy and attention in the areas of your life that are most important to you. If you are a person with a high need for connection, for example, your work and finance goals won’t be as important as your family/home goals. If safety and security is what you crave, you will tend to focus on financial and health/fitness goals.
Don’t forget that balance is key. Don’t just set goals in those areas you feel you are supposed to. Instead, look inside to discover what is most important to you and start there, but consider setting goals in all eight areas.
It’s difficult to know where you’re going when you don’t know where you currently are. Take the time to evaluate where you are in each of the eight areas listed. What are your strengths? What are the obstacles and barriers in the way of success? To become grounded in where you are currently, take stock of last year’s successes with the hindsight of what may have gotten in your way so you can plan to overcome those obstacles this year.
I call this priority management instead of time management because we all have the same 525,600 minutes in a year; what really counts is what we do with those minutes. Remember, when you say “yes” to something that isn’t a priority, you could be saying “no” to something that is.
This step is about setting long-term goals with a timeframe for when you want to have them accomplished. Considering my three- to five-year goals, I assess how much I’d have to accomplish this year to stay on that track. Once I have my annual goals, I develop quarterly and monthly goals also designed to keep me on that track. After monthly goals, it’s time to create your weekly to-do list and, finally, your daily to-do list—all designed to keep you on that track.
It’s important to note that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year but vastly underestimate what they can do in 10. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get everything done you
expected in a year. Push on and surprise yourself by what you have done in the last 10 years and what you can get done in the next 10.
Developing positive affirmations—stating your goals as if they’ve already been realized—to recite twice or more daily is quite helpful. I find affirmations to be an extremely powerful tool. However, if you are not careful to follow the nine qualities of affirmations, you could be affirming something that might hurt you instead.
Visualization is something you can do anytime, anywhere. Simply create a mental image of what your life will be like once you have reached your goals.
In addition, practicing meditation will make space to seek guidance and wisdom from within. Sometimes you find your higher self and sometimes the messages feel divinely inspired. Taking time to be still can be extremely helpful in attracting the people and resources you need to move toward the life you want.
Develop gratitude for all you have while visualizing what you want. Keep a success journal to document your wins as well as what you learn from your mistakes. Choose your attitude and develop a growth mindset. Know that you can accomplish almost anything you are willing to put your time, energy and attention toward. Believe in yourself.
You will encounter fear and doubt along the way, but develop a proactive plan for managing those things. Divorce yourself from the people who don’t support you and your vision. Develop new, supportive relationships along the way.
Remaining motivated for the long haul can be challenging. It is important to have a burning desire to succeed, as well as an understanding of your reason. You will be more likely to succeed when you are in touch with your “why,” especially if it is something bigger than yourself. For example, let me share my personal “why.” Yes, I’d like to make more money, but it isn’t because I want to pad my bank account, increase my stock portfolio or stuff my mattress. More money means more marketing, which means I can reach more people with the messages of Mental Freedom. My “why” is about helping people learn how to live without the mental restrictions that lead to anger, depression and anxiety. Remembering your “why” can help motivate you on the days you consider giving up and abandoning your goals.
If you’d like some help with attaining your goals in 2021 using this seven-step system, check out my “Goal Attainment” eBook, which comes with an action book full of exercises, at www.bit.ly/goalattainment.