2019 is here, Happy New Year!  One tradition associated with the calendar turning over to a new year is New Year’s resolutions.  While people have the best intentions when making them, New Year’s resolutions almost always fail.  The problem is that they are usually made on a whim without a lot of prior thought and are soft and fluffy, not thoroughly fleshed out – more like a hope or a wish rather than a plan to get something done.  If you want to see real change in your personal or business life, and make 2019 your best year ever, set goals instead!  Use the following framework to help you set and achieve your goals.

Powerful goals have 3 components

  1. They are inspiring
  2. They are believable
  3. They must be goals you can act on

When your goals inspire you, when you believe and act on them, you will accomplish them!

The 4 Key Aspects of Goal Setting:

  1. Evaluation and Reflection – The only way we can decide what we want in the future and how we will get there is to first know where we are right now and what our level of satisfaction is for where we are in life. With your focus on goal setting, the first thing you should do is set aside time for evaluation and reflection.

The process of evaluation is simple but can vary.  The important thing is to have a process.  Here is a basic process you can use for evaluation and reflection:

  • Find a Quiet Place – Reflection is best done away from distraction. It gives you the ability for deep thought.
  • Take Regular Time – Be sure to set aside time at regular intervals to evaluate and reflect.
  • Look Back – Look at what you have accomplished and where you are. Be specific.  Be truthful.  Be ruthlessly honest with yourself.
  • Write It Down – Keep a record. At the next stage of evaluation, this will allow you to see exactly where you were last time and keeps it as objective as possible.
  • Look Forward – Set your next goal. Stretch yourself.

There are two reasons why you should evaluate.  Firstly, it gives you an objective way to look at your accomplishments and your pursuit of the vision you have for your life.  Secondly, it shows you where you are, so you can determine where you need to go.

Evaluation and reflection bring us face to face with who we are and what we have become.  It also allows us the time to dream and create a vision for what we want to become.  Only when we take time and eliminate distractions, can we get into the state of mind we need in order to find the inner peace needed to see what we are and what we can become.

Those who never take time out to evaluate and reflect will go through life living by happenstance, bowing to societal pressures and personal weakness.  In contrast, those who take time to evaluate will have firm resolution to know where they are going, how they will get there, and will get there no matter what obstacles come their way.

  1. Dreams and Goals – What are your dreams and goals? Don’t limit yourself to what you’ve done in the past, or what you think you can get, but WHAT YOU WANT.  Have you ever sat down, thought through your life values and decided what you really want?  This isn’t what someone else thinks you should have, or what society tells us successful people do or have.  These are the dreams and goals born out of your heart and mind.  Goals unique to you, that come from who you were created to be and destined to become.

Look deep within yourself and dream of a better situation for yourself and your family; a more secure financial future, better health, deeper personal relationships… whatever your heart and mind desire.  Then lay out a strategic plan to set goals and achieve your dreams!

Take the time to reflect, listen to your heart, and see what dreams live within you.  What really thrills or excites you?  What would you love to do for fun, or for a living?  What would you love to accomplish?  What would you try if you were guaranteed to succeed?  What big thoughts excite you and get your blood pumping?  When you answer these questions, you’ll start discovering your dreams

Write down all your dreams.  Don’t eliminate any of them – record them all as they come to you.  Look at your list and prioritize those dreams.  Which are the most important?  Which are most likely to be accomplished?  Which would you love to do the most?  Put them in the order you will try to attain them.

  1. SMART Goals – 

SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound

  • Specific: Don’t be vague; ambiguous goals produce ambiguous results.  Incomplete goals produce incomplete futures.  What exactly do you want?  When you are specific, you harness the power of your dreams and set forces into action that empower you to achieve your goals. 
  • Measurable: Quantify your goal. You should be able to know when you are advancing, and by how much, otherwise, how will you know if you’ve achieved your goal or not?  Whether it is by hours, pounds, dollars or some other measure, you should be able to see exactly how you are measuring up as you journey through life.
  • Attainable: One of the detrimental things many people do is unintentionally set goals that are unattainable. While it’s important to set big goals that will challenge and stretch you, it is imperative to make sure they are attainable.  Your goals should be set just out of your reach, so they challenge you to grow as you reach forward to achieve them.
  • Realistic: A goal must be something that you can reasonably make a reality in your life. It’s got to be doable, real and practical.  Be honest with yourself as you do your planning and evaluation. 
  • Time-bound: Every goal should have a time frame attached to it. One of the powerful aspects of a great goal is that it has an end; a time in which you are attempting to complete it.  You start working because you know there is an end, and as time goes by, you work because you don’t want to get behind.  As the deadline approaches, you work diligently because you want to meet that deadline.  It’s a good idea to break a big goal down into measured time frames.  Set smaller goals and work them out in their own time.
  1. Accountability – There are two types of accountability: internal and external.

Internal accountability is the level of integrity you maintain in life.  It means that when you look at yourself, you judge yourself with honesty, holding yourself accountable for doing what you said you would do.  Let internal accountability push you to greater action in pursuit of your goals.  Here are some ideas on how to hold yourself accountable:

  1. Write down your goals so they become objective. Then you can’t go back later and say, “that wasn’t really my goal”.
  2. Put your goals in places that you will see them daily. Seeing them often will reinforce them in your mind.  Ideas include: printing a copy and placing it on your mirror so you will see it every day when getting ready, the lock screen of your phone, screensaver of your computer, etc.
  3. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself when you assess whether you have met the goal or not. This should be quite clear if you were specific in setting your SMART goals.
  4. If you fall short of your goal, or if you are at risk of falling short, dig deep and hold yourself accountable to do what it takes to make up ground, so you can hit your goal.
  5. Set a time frame in which you will evaluate your progress and hold yourself accountable.

External accountability is when we commit to giving an account to another individual or group for our actions and goals.  External accountability can help you take your achievement to the next level.  The external part of accountability won’t work without the internal aspect.  If you are not honest with yourself, you will probably not be honest with others.

When someone knows what your goals are, they help hold you accountable by asking you to give an account of where you are in the process.  An accountability partner will give you an added boost to accomplishing your goals since we know our accountability partner will be asking us about our progress.

Having an accountability partner or another outside source of accountability is a powerful force if done right.  Here are a few things to keep in mind as you set up an accountability partner:

  1. Choose someone who cares about you but can also be tough and honest with you.
  2. Tell them specifically what your goals are (or better yet, give them a printed copy of your goals).
  3. Commit to being honest with them.
  4. Give them permission to speak words of encouragement, as well as challenge you when the situation calls for it.
  5. Agree on a reasonable time frame in which you will allow them to evaluate your progress and hold you accountable.
  6. Follow up on their words when they challenge you or call you to action.

When we have someone holding us accountable, we bring others onto our team who will help us achieve more and enrich our lives because of their involvement.

Take time to consider who you will make yourself accountable to in the pursuit of your goals.

Life is too short not to pursue your dreams.  At the end of your life, you will not regret the things you’ve attempted to do, even if you weren’t successful.  However, you will deeply regret those things that you didn’t pursue.

Those who set goals and act on them, are those who live fulfilled lives and have a sense of peace.  They possess a sense of pride and accomplishment.  That feeling is priceless!

Follow the goal setting outline above and make progress on your goals like you’ve never been able to before!  Become the person you’ve always wanted to be.  Create the life you’ve always wanted to have. 

We love hearing your success stories… let us know about your successes as you accomplish them.  Happy New Year!