So tis’ the season that us all start making new resolutions for the new year, and also, looking back and admitting we haven’t been all that good in achieving this last year’s (or that we can’t even remember what they were). I’m particularly bad for this. Every year, I make my goals, feel really good and motivated and the busyness of life kicks in – by Week 3 of the new year, that new found motivation and all my fresh goals seem so so long ago.
This is all made worse by the fact that my previous occupation was a job skills trainer/speaker. I ran courses and sometimes presented to big groups on the topics of resumes, interview techniques, how to present yourself etc but we always, without fail, begin with GOAL SETTING!! Talk about not practising what you preach. Well, that’s what happens when you get too excited by making some neat goals and forget to consciously and intentionally implement what you know.
If you’re like me, here are some mistakes I made last year (and many other years) and what I will very intentionally do different this time:
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1) Failing to write them down
I remember every time I told people in my course to write their goals down (even if I told them I wasn’t going to be reading them), they often looked shy and awkward. I think actually writing down our goals on paper can be very confronting – it’s no longer just an abstract idea, but has now, become something even more concrete. But the more confronting the better! That is what will propel us to take it seriously and work on it intentionally.
What you can do: Writing it down for sure! And pasting it. You might even want to customise it nicely in a handwriting font and frame it.
2) Failing to figure out the WHY
Your WHY is very important. Simply because we are bound to hit a road block or face some obstacles in the middle of it all. And when the going gets tough, it’s very tempting to give up and leave it. If you’re serious about actually achieving your goals, you need to be clear on your WHY. Why do you want to do this? And again, just thinking a mere though isn’t enough. You need to write it down, make it concrete, look at it and put your focus on it.
What you can do: Think about your why. Don’t skip this step – you need it as your buffer when the going gets tough!
3) Making too many goals
I think I got in the habit of thinking I was making a grocery list. You know, what are all the 30 things I want to get at the shops – or all the 30 things I want to achieve in this case. Obviously, we all have limited resources whether it’s attention, time, money etc. If you split it up between so many things, you’ll lack focus and end up achieving very little or nothing of significant impact. Some people advise about 5-ish goals. This year, I’m sticking to just 2. Because I want to get serious about my 2, and want to really put my feet down and put my focus on these 2.
What you can do: No more grocery-list style of making goals. Keep it few, keep your focus.
4) Not being specific enough
One of my goals last year and for many years before was always to eat better and gain weight (I have always been underweight but some years, I am unhealthily underweight which is really not good). But that was it – gain weight. Again, using the same previous concept, that is too abstract and vague. And when there is nothing concrete, you can’t put your focus on it effectively.
What you can do: Put a value to it, put a date to it. Make it specific so you can put your focus on it.
My oldest child is already 10, my ‘baby’ is already almost 4 and I now have a newborn. Point – I often can’t believe how fast the years have passed. Every year will keep flying by, especially when you have kids you know how scary it can be! If you truly want to achieve some goals and make a difference to this particular year of your life, I hope these goal setting tips will help refine your goal setting process. Most importantly, have fun!