It’s that time of year when many of us make resolutions. Yet, as we discussed in our previous post – most of us don’t keep our resolutions. Resolutions simply don’t work.
That’s why it’s better to set goals – not make resolutions. It’s not just word play. When approached in the right way, goals provide the tools we need to succeed.
Understanding why we fail is as important as understanding why we succeed. Goals help us to avoid the pitfalls and stumbling blocks that can derail our best intentions.
How to set and reach your goals
Follow these five tried-and-true principles and leave those resolutions behind!
1. State clear and attainable goals
Set goals that are specific and have deadlines attached. Then, write down your goals and keep them visible at home and the office.
2. Break your goals into bite-sized pieces
Everything does not have to be achieved at once. Remember the old saying, “You can eat an elephant if you take it one bite at a time?” Break your goals into steps or time periods. For example, you can set yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly or even daily goals.
3. Share your goals with a trusted friend or advisor
If you keep your goals a secret and fail – no big deal. But, if you say them aloud to someone, the goals become much more real. You’re more likely to finish a report due on Friday if you know that the owner of your company will be in the office to review your work that same day.
4. Be accountable to someone
Give someone you trust permission to check on the progress you’ve made toward your goals. If you set specific times to touch base you’re accountable not only to yourself, but to your “accountability buddy” as well.
Identify someone who wants to achieve the same types of things as you. If you set your individual goals together, you’ll be accountable to each other. After all, it’s easier to get to the health club every day when your friend is waiting for you to arrive!
5. Establish benchmarks to celebrate your accomplishments and adjust your plan as necessary
Take time to check your progress daily and celebrate your accomplishments. As you work toward your goals, make sure to adjust your career, business or personal life accordingly.
If you fall short of a goal, don’t panic. Keep moving forward. Taking even the smallest steps forward will eventually bear fruit.
Once you stop working toward a goal, it’s difficult to start up again. You’ll become discouraged and loose hope.
Have you ever used a hand pump to get water from a well? It takes a great deal of time, effort and pumping to see even a trickle of water. But, once you get to this point, the water flows effortlessly. You barely must touch the handle to keep the water flowing.
What if you stop abruptly? The water will slow to a trickle, and then stop completely. To get more water, you’ll have to start pumping all over again.
It’s the same with goals. You must maintain your momentum. Once you’ve achieved a benchmark, keep going. Move onto the next goal or benchmark before the excitement and the feeling of accomplishment wears off and it will be become easier to reach your dreams!