Today is the day—the day when, according to several studies, most people burn out on their New Year’s resolutions and wind up right back where they were last year— the same weight, the same spending habits, the same amount of time spent with family, etc. It can be a frustrating cycle and maybe you can relate to some degree. We understand how difficult it can be to develop goals that are inspiring and actually help you achieve what you ultimately desire. That’s why we’ve developed a process that has worked for thousands of people around the world and it can work for you as well. Fast forward to the end of 2019 and imagine how you will feel when you hit your health, financial, relationship, or business goals. We’re confident it can happen when you use the right process.
The first step in the goal-setting process is to do what less than 1% of the population will do and that is to establish your long-term vision. What contributions do you want to make to others, your organization, your community, and the world? How do you hope others will describe you when they look back on your life? As you contemplate what you are capable of accomplishing, what idea or thought takes your breath away? What are some things you would like to have accomplished in 5 – 10 years from now? These questions should help you come up with a draft of your personal vision. The length of each person’s vision will vary—some may only be a couple of sentences while others may be two or three paragraphs. The vision gives the direction and is generally tied to a feeling or emotion. What really matters is that it is meaningful to you and gives you direction. If it doesn’t do that, it’s not really a vision. This is the first step, figure out where you want to be going with your life.
After writing your vision, the second step is to identify each of your roles and set SMART annual goals. Possible roles in your life might include spouse, parent, your job title, son/daughter, athlete, or friend. Don’t forget about your personal role, which is the MOST important role. It includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of you. Your personal role is crucial because as you care for your individual needs, you’ll tend to be more successful in your other roles.
After determining the various roles, come up with between one and four goals for each role. Each of these goals should be SMART goals. This means that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-specific. In a goal, we should never see the words “more” or “better,” or any variation of those words. Quantify your goals as much as possible. Your goals should be achievable and stretch you to be slightly uncomfortable. While they should require hard work and dedication, they should be realistic. Lastly, your goals should be relevant to your long-term vision. A couple of examples of SMART goals are: Run a 5k in less than 25 minutes by September 1st OR Go on one family trip together before July 1st.
The third step in this goal setting process is to share your goals. According to one study, you are 33% more likely to achieve your goals when you share them and report back! So, choose a few people who you admire and respect and send them your goals. Then, at the end of the year, send these same people a follow up on how well you did in achieving your goals, along with your goals for the next year. Sharing your goals with others will hold you accountable and motivate you to work towards your best.
The last step to setting achievable and life-changing goals is to put them in a place where you will see them often. Although it’s beyond the scope of this article, pre-week planning is a process when a person takes 20 – 45 minutes at the beginning of the week to schedule their priorities. The most successful people review their annual goals each week as a part of their pre-week planning. Remember, out of sight, out of mind! Keep your goals where you can review them each week.
This will take some effort and a fair amount of energy on your part, but we’re talking about your LIFE! In our research and having trained hundreds of organizations, we’ve found that less than .01% of the population has a written personal vision, annual goals to achieve the vision, and consistently doing some form of pre-week planning. It’s not too bold to say that when you make these consistent habits, they are life-changing!
As you establish your long-term vision, set SMART annual goals (by role), share your goals with others, and put them in a place where you see them often, you will be on the fast track to having your best year ever! In just a few simple steps, you could take a significant leap forward towards becoming the person that you’ve always wanted to be.