Not another article about annual goals I hear you cry?!!! I am afraid so folks!
However, this one is focused on ensuring you are setting the right goals, that they synergise with each other and that you are not going crazy with setting too many.
I’ve written before about making goals rather than resolutions, however, to recap — as it’s always nice to have a reminder!
Our resolutions are rarely kept or stuck to partly because we tend to make sooo many of them. And they tend to be habits rather than goals as we get caught up in the doing of them rather than what they are doing for us.
An overview of mine in the past:
- Yoga every day
- Meditate every day — right after the yoga
- Only have ‘treat food’ at the weekends
- Write a gratitude journal
- Plan every week in advance
- Floss every evening (apologies to my dentist)
- Walk every morning
- Learn to drive and pass my test
- Learn Spanish
- Sing on my own — in front of an audience
- Leave my job
Well, you get the idea.
So partly it is because we make so many of them and partly it is because we set unrealistic expectations of ourselves.
Instead of setting a goal to calm my mind daily to help me deal and cope with issues in a more rational state, I set myself a high mountain to climb with daily yoga, meditation, walking, gratitude journaling and planning.
I feel slightly stressed already trying work out when to do all of this in amongst — life!
I was too focused on the doing of the tasks, trying to cram them in each day, tick them off my list and just get them done rather than focusing on the benefit they would bring me and my life.
The first step
What is the overall outcome you want? What is the benefit and reward you want to reap? What will make your year awesome?
Perhaps it is to be able to manage your stress better on a day-to-day basis, maybe it is to get a higher paid job, a more fulfilling career, work for your dream organisation — whatever you want 2022 to hold for you are your goals.
Don’t go overboard — choose a few main, non-negotiable goals (2–4) to focus on — these are what you will achieve 100% in 2022.
If you have more then consider making a few others less crucial (3–5) — you can achieve 3 out of 5 of these ones.
Still have more? Are you sure these are goals not habits?
Once you have your main and secondary goals — write them down. On a paper. Stick that piece of paper up somewhere where you will see it every day. That’s step 2. You just made it real. Boom!
Step 3 is to discover why you want these goals so ask yourself:
Why are they important to you?
Why do you want them?
What will they improve in your life?
Keep asking yourself why until you know for sure and that these goals are for you.
Some of your initial goals may come off of your list at this stage as they may seem irrelevant or can be deferred to a later date. If you are not going to do them then ditch them.
Now you have your goals and your why, say them out loud now:
“By [DATE] I will … be earning £…[amount]/ be working in my ideal role which is…[job title]/have a new role at… [company name]”
How does it feel to say it aloud? If it feels uncomfortable — that’s ok — you are making it more and more real so are facing your challenge. You might want to re-word it slightly, so it sounds natural to you.
One tip here — avoid the word ‘try’ — you are not trying to be healthier, to earn more money, to develop your skills — you are doing those things.
We’ve set a date too — now this may be “By December 2022” or it may be earlier in the year — set that date to help you break your goal and action plan down.
Get specific. Super duper specific — not just “By December 2022 I will have had a pay rise” but set a figure for that amount or the weight you want to lift, the distance you want to walk/run each week, the exact role you will be working in.
Without a date and being specific your goal will remain a dream — a hazy ‘one day I will…’
Look back to learn
If this was also your goal or resolution last year — have a think about what worked and what didn’t work so well — what have you learnt which you can now take into this year to improve even more?
I know that when I am not at home my morning routine falls off a cliff — so I need to be extra diligent to keep it going and to ensure I am up earlier so not in anyone else’s way whilst doing home workouts, meditating and planning my day.
You & Your Values
Are your goals in line with your values?
Are they in line with each other?
We often set goals based on other people, on society’s expectations or on old self-expectations.
One of my dearest friends wanted to climb the career ladder in finance — he wanted to be a CFO and he worked bloody hard for it. But it never came, and he realised that he didn’t want that pressure, that responsibility, to be ‘on’ all the time. He loved his life outside of work and could see that would be eroded away the higher he went. Letting go of that expectation he set himself 15 years ago allowed him to feel free, to enjoy his work and, more importantly, to enjoy his life a LOT more.
Do your goals fit with your vision of yourself?
You may have several visions of yourself based on the roles in life you have:
- Family: partner, parent, sibling
- Work: colleague, leader, boss
- Health: mental, physical, emotional
- Hobbies: social, your own time
How will your goal affect all areas of your life?
How will it enhance them and the roles you have in your life?
What we are doing here is to ensure you goal is congruent and relevant for you, your life, and your development.
Have you got conflicting goals?
You may want to spend every weekend with your family, partner, friends but if you are wanting to run a marathon how will your training time fit in? It’s time to … plan!
Break it down
As we have set a date for which you will accomplish your goals we can now break these beasts down into steppingstones.
If you have set a goal for the end of the year think about where do you want to be with it in 8 months’ time with it?
How much progress do you need to have made to be on track?
And in 6 months?
What actions do you need to take each month to stay on track?
And each week?
Once you have your daily, weekly, and monthly actions ask yourself — are these feasible?
For example, if one of your goals is to get another job think about the first steps such as reviewing your CV, pimping up your LinkedIn profile, speaking to those you know who recently got new jobs to ask about their experience.
If you start sending your CV out to recruiters consider how much time you have to field their calls, to complete application forms, to go to interviews, etc.
Now you have settled on your actions it’s time to make them real just as with your goals. Grab your diary, planner, phone, another piece of paper — however you plan things and write down what your actions are and when you will do them — dates and times.
Sounds very detailed but having these in black and white tells you & your brain that this is happening.
Ok — take a break — get a cuppa and sit back to look at everything you have thought through and planned so far.
How do you feel?
I hope — elated, inspired, invigorated and raring to go.
If you feel daunted then review what you have done and tweak it, take it down a notch or too. If you cannot visualise yourself achieving each of your goals and are feeling like this then chances are it is unrealistic for you — time to tone it down a smidge.
What, if anything, is missing?
Add it in, tweak away and ask for help when you need it.
But beware of taking on too much, of constantly planning rather than actually doing — I know, I know — actually doing them is another element and we’ll be tackling that next week.
For now and once you are happy with your finalised, detailed design / plan for your year then reward yourself! Have a biscuit with the cuppa and get ready to be awesome!
To have even more help in achieving your goals and living a fulfilling life contact Kate: email@example.com