How To Set Achievable Goals for the New Year

New Year’s resolutions are famous for being just wishful thinking that lasts the first few days of January.  Most people do not follow through with their resolutions.  A few days into January or maybe a few weeks… New Year’s resolutions are forgotten.

Many New Year’s resolutions are things that people think they should be doing but don’t really have the desire to really do it.  There are several ways you can guard against, New Year resolution failure.  Turn your New Year resolutions into real goals with a thought out plan of action.

SMART goals are much more likely to be achieved.  Try some of these strategies for planning your New Year’s goals.

Specific, Strategic

DO NOT set general goals.  Set specific goals that you write out on paper (or in electronic form).  The goal needs to be clear and unambiguous; no vagueness.  Set a specific goal and strategically map out how you intend on reaching that goal.

Ask these five “W” questions of specific goals:

  • What: What do I want to accomplish?
  • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal.
  • Who: Who is involved?
  • Where: Identify a location.
  • Which: Identify requirements and constraints.

Measurable, Meaningful

The second term is measurable.  You need concrete criteria for measuring your progress towards accomplishing the goal.   If your goal is not measurable, then it is not possible to know whether or not you are making progress towards reaching that goal.  Measuring your goal will keep you on track and will help encourage you as you meet the mile markers on the path to achieving your goal.  Is your goal really meaningful to you?  Do you really want to reach the goal or does it just sound like a nice idea?

A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:

  • How much?
  • How many?
  • How will I know when it is accomplished?

Attainable, Achievable

Attainable and realistic goals.  Make sure your goal is not extreme.  The goal should not be out of reach…nor should it be below standard and non-challenging or meaningless.

An attainable goal will usually answer the question:

  • How can the goal be accomplished?

Relevant, Realistic

Make your goals relevant to your life.

A relevant goal will usually answer the questions:

  • Does this seem worthwhile?
  • What does the end result look like after this goal is reached?

Time-Bound, Trackable, Tangible

Ground your goals with a time frame.  Give them a target date of completion.  For smaller goals, you may set a date of completion.  For larger goals, you will need to set check-in points or break down the goal into pieces.  Stay committed to a deadline and work within the time frame allotted.   A time-bound goal is intended to establish a sense of urgency.  Also, be willing to reevaluate your time frame.  As you get into the year, you may realize the goal you have set needs to be broken down into smaller goals first.

A time-bound goal will usually answer the question:

  • When?
  • What can I do 6 months from now?
  • What can I do 6 weeks from now?
  • What can I do today?

Strategically planned goals have a much better chance at actually being achieved.  Vague goals often get lost in vagueness and are never reached.  Give your goal a name.  Make it specific and set up a strategy on how you intend on reaching your goal.

Happy Goal Setting!

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