New Year’s resolutions are a popular way to start off the year. Familiar examples are “make more money”, “be more organized” or “get out of debt”. Most resolutions are never achieved. How frustrated have you been finding yourself writing the same resolution year after year? You have lots of company!
The main reason those statements are so ineffective is that they are only wishes instead of goals.
To turn them into effective goals – ones we can actually achieve – we need to make them SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant/Risky, and Timebound are aspects that turn a mere wish into a real goal.
Even before we set goals, we need to determine our vision. Setting the vision is like picking a destination and loading it into your brain’s GPS. You need to know where you’re going before you start on that trip. Without the destination, i.e. the vision, we start driving the car without knowing where we’re headed.
Once we program the GPS with a destination, we need to plan the route or draw our map. Planning the goals is like planning the stopping points along the way and knowing where to turn. Goals help us to create the life of our vision. Goals are where New Year’s resolutions usually stop.
In order to get beyond goals, we need to flesh out the detailed action items. Only with action items clearly defined can we go beyond the mere wish and begin to actualize the vision. Organizing the action items is like figuring out exactly what needs to be accomplished before and during the trip – what do we need to take along, do we have our passports, do we have enough cash in local currency, which hotel do we sleep in, etc.
Additionally, every trip needs a timeline so that we end up where we need to be when we need to be there. Setting target dates helps us stay on track and get done on time.
The final piece to accomplishing the goal is selecting an accountability partner. This person is like your tour guide, keeping you on track and on time, rounding you up when you’ve gotten distracted. Picking the right accountability partner is crucial to your success.
What’s your vision for 2011? Do you know it, yet? Take time to set that vision in your mind.
- Sit down with a pen, paper, and a timer.
- Turn off your Blackberry and your computer.
- Use paper and pen or pencil – Brian Tracy insists that the most successful people still do these processes on paper instead of electronically.
- Set your timer for 30 minutes.
- Close your eyes, and relax with a few deep breaths.
- Let your mind wander to what your life will look like at the end of 2011.
- Describe what would please you by writing it on paper (yes, paper, leave your computer turned off!).
- Take that vision and begin to set your goals, identify action steps, and assign a due date to each action item.
- Select your accountability partner. Tell them what your first 3 action items are and when you expect to complete them. Ask them to check in with you to make sure that you have completed them. Do the same for her and reach your goals together!
- Cross completed items off your list and congratulate yourself!
People often ask me for resources I recommend. Take a look at the book “Focal Point” by Brian Tracy for a serious look at how to achieve your business and life goals.
Brian Tracy’s “Focal Point” (Karen’s Amazon Store)