Simple Steps to Set Achievable New Year Goals

By Victoria Munro

LAKELAND, Colo. — It soon will be a New Year — a new beginning, time to think about new directions, dreams and aspirations, and to set and achieve goals. The following seven simple steps will get you started, keep you going and help you get where you want to be.

Begin with the end in mind. Work backwards. Decide where you want to be at the end of the year. With that in mind, where will you need to be six months and three months from now? For instance, in your business, you might set goals for revenue, number of new clients or projects completed. Next, break it down to what you will need to achieve in the next 30 days.

Passion will provide the motivation you need. If you’re passionate about the outcome, your chances of success will multiply. When we want something really badly, the end result seems worth all the effort to get there — we’re much more willing to pay the price. List all the benefits to you for reaching a goal. You’ll also be more likely to achieve goals based on your own core values.

Commit your goals to paper. Writing out your goals and displaying them where you see them often will increase your chances of reaching them. Word them carefully and be specific. Create an action plan with due dates and clear action steps for each goal. Prioritizing your goals will help when life gets busy. Then, set a timeline to get yourself going.

Test your goals. Make sure your goals are realistic — a bit of a stretch but still within reach. Setting idealistic goals that are too difficult to achieve, or having too many goals, can lead to defeat and discouragement. Make sure each goal is measurable — you need to know if you’ve won or lost. But be flexible. When a goal isn’t working, find out why. If circumstances change, a goal may no longer be useful. Give yourself permission to modify or even abandon it altogether.

Find accountability and support along the way. Find an accountability buddy who’ll hold your feet to the fire. It’s amazing how motivated we can be to complete a project when we have to answer to someone else.

Keep moving forward. Review goals and gauge your progress regularly. Make this part of your daily or weekly planning process. Do something every day, no matter how small, that will take you closer to your desired result. Keep steadily plodding forward. This may not seem exciting, but looking back occasionally to see how far you’ve come will prove very rewarding. Encourage yourself with positive self-talk. Silence your “inner critic” – allow no negative internal dialogue about the process or your ability to achieve a goal. Employ all your senses to keep you on track. Ask yourself how will it feel when you achieve your goal. Think about it. Imagine it.

Use the power of pictures. What will it look like when you achieve a goal? Post pictures where you’ll see them daily. Divorce coach Laurie Cameron always wanted to own a convertible, so she cut out a picture and put it up in her office. It happened to be a gold 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible. After looking at the picture for a couple of years, wishing she could afford it, she declared out loud that her next car would be a convertible! She called an auto broker, told him she wanted a convertible and that she wasn’t in a hurry – next week or next year, it didn’t matter. Three days later, he called back. He’d found a car at an auction and was she interested. It was a gold 2000 Chrysler Sebring that she has thoroughly enjoyed driving since.

Enjoy the Journey. Reward yourself along the way for small accomplishments. Celebrate achievements – this could be a dinner out at a favorite restaurant, an ice cream cone, time out to visit with an old friend over a latte at the local coffee shop or a walk in the park. Each day, do something you love to do. We suggest you set goals in all areas of your life: family, relationships, finances, spiritual, physical, educational and cultural – not just business. This will lead to a more balanced life.

You may not make great strides overnight, but like the tortoise, if you faithfully continue to make steady progress, you will reach your goals.

The author is co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for small-business owners through creatively designed programs and tools. Victoria has started and runs nine different businesses. To receive free business success articles with tips to help you with your business, sign up for their award-winning ezine, “In-Flight Refueling,” at Make-it-Fly.com, and receive a free copy of the eBook, Get More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics & Tips.

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