January is flying by isn’t it? For those of you that set goals, it’s definitely time to take stock of how you’re progressing on your 2016 resolutions, and maybe adapt some of those goals to make reaching them even more likely. For those that didn’t start 2016 with an action plan, is it worth setting goals now?
Heavens, yes. Setting goals in February (or March, or November for that matter) is a vital part of understanding exactly where it is you want to go, and exactly how it is that you are going to get there. In reality, February is possibly even better than January for setting these goals, as the buzz and champagne positivity of New Year is behind you, you’re back at work, and you have a more realistic view of where you are in life. For example, your fervent declaration in the early hours of January 1st that you were going to turn everything around at work with the manager that clearly hates you, might have been dampened slightly by the cold shoulder she gave you on Monday, January 4th.
So, no matter whether you set goals in January or not, it’s definitely time to re-examine them.
How to reach your goals this year
1. Aim high, but build yourself a stepladder! Research shows that most people are only motivated towards goals in the short term, meaning we often give up when we don’t see quick results. As such, you need to sit down and break your big goal into small, manageable goals.
2. Don’t forget to celebrate when you reach your goals. You might plan some rewards for yourself, such as ‘if I take the IT evening classes that I will need to get the promotion, I’ll reward myself with a massage/weekend away/new laptop.
3. Only make goals for things YOU are in control of. Don’t fall into the trap of expecting other people to play along. As in the example described above, a goal like ‘turning things around with my manager who hates me’ depends far too much on the manager’s behaviour and willingness to change. Instead, set your goal as something that’s completely under your control- perhaps something along the lines of: ‘I won’t let that manager’s behaviour get me down.
4. Find techniques to make you more productive: at work; at home; at life. Many high achievers swear by planning their week ahead on Sunday night, or writing their to-do list for the next day before they go to sleep- allowing them to spring into action the next day. Schedule time to work on moving towards your goals- actually block it out on your calendar and treat it like a work appointment. Above all, treat your goal as importantly as you would treat a high-level assignment your boss gives you. That’s not negotiable, so why would your goal be?
5. Keep re-examining your goals throughout the year- and don’t be afraid to adapt them to new circumstances. Put them somewhere obvious and schedule an (unbreakable) appointment with yourself each month to assess how you are going. Don’t give up when you see that you’ve missed a target, rather take this opportunity to assess why you didn’t reach it, and then perhaps break the task up into even more manageable, achievable pieces.
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, very few of us see them through- in fact, 25% of us don’t even make it through the first week! So don’t put too much stock in an arbitrary date like January 1, instead, seize this moment- NOW- to establish a hopeful, happy, and hugely achievable set of goals for your future.
Until next time