New Year, new start, new goals!
Did you know that your chances of attaining your dreams or goals become higher if you commit to them on paper or online or verbally? Well even though I did, I’m owning up. Yes, hands up I’m guilty as charged or not setting my goals at the start of the New Year. Argh! Quite honestly I’ve never done it and I have to say as I write this blog and think upon it, I’m quite embarrassed. I’m not saying I haven’t ever set goals, or written business plans – I’ve done plenty of those, it’s just that I’ve never done it at the start of the calendar year.
So, this year I’m changing all of that. I’m conscious that I need to work on my business and not just in it. I’m conscious that I need to be able to make effective use of my resources, and time is a big feature of these. I’m on a mission (as many of you know) and I’ve plenty of people to help. That’s why I’m writing a post for you on goal setting and changing my ways to enable a successful year ahead.
Being at the start of the New Year, I’ve already spent about two days thinking about my objectives for the year ahead and planning my activities strategically. I’ve also been scheduling activities to ensure they happen and I’m even writing a business plan to focus my mind some more. I’m excited and want to get you revved up about the whole thing too! I want to make sure you’re set up for success!
You see, we all dream about what we want in life and where we want to go, but how many of us produce a plan of how we’re going to get there? How many of us set goals? I imagine the answer is very few, and that’s a shame. Planning for our future is very important even if those plans change.
One of my favourite sayings is:
[box]“Man plans, God laughs.” – old Yiddish proverb TWEET THIS[/box]
Whilst I know only too well that life may not always go as planned, setting goals helps. Goals may be either short or long term and they can cover all aspects of our lives – financial, health, family, work, love, leisure and spiritual. Most of us are actually very good at setting short-term goals for we plan what we want to accomplish that day or week regularly.
The secret to accomplishing all goals – short-term and long-term though is by setting them. Now you can either opt for a written statement, or a visual statement, or both!
Before I go into either of those methods, I want to share with you one bit of advice I read by Danielle laPorte in her fantastic book, The Fire Starter Sessions. I found it challenged my approach to this exercise entirely. Danielle said to set goals based on how you want to feel. Forget the ‘bucket list’ as she calls it, for this is not what drives us. Often when we set milestones and then reach them we feel dissatisfied. We then discover that the achievement isn’t all that we made it out to be. Ironically (somewhat), all of our aspirations are driven by an innate desire to feel a certain way. So when we’re clear on what we want to feel, our decision making gets to the hear of the matter. So get clear on how you want to feel and then do the ‘stuff’ that makes you feel that way. SIMPLE!
If you’re going for written goals, make them SMART goals as this works. SMART goals may not be ‘sexy’ and to some may seem old fashioned or very corporate, but they work. So don’t reinvent the wheel – use them!
Specific: Your goals must be specific and by this I mean you can’t just say, “I want to be successful.” You need to define them specifically and in this example, what success looks like to you. For your financial goals, think about how much income you’d like for this year and set it.
Measurable: You must be able to measure the outcome of your goals. When you set a goal you must include a time frame for achieving it. You can also specify amounts, and business plans are great for this when it comes to your business.
Attainable: Your goals need to be realistic and attainable. You need to think about how they can be accomplished. You’ll want to make sure your goals are neither out of reach nor below standard performance, otherwise they’ll be considered meaningless. You must attach an action to each goal too.
Relevant: As obvious as it seems, only choose goals that matter. Make sure you have the ability and skills necessary to reach them and acquire new skills if you don’t. Relevant goals (when met) drive your business, team forward. So ask, does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? Does this match our other efforts/needs? Are you the right person?
Timeframe: You must set a timeframe for your goals but always make your goals reachable within your time frame so you’re not setting yourself up to fail. Remember, you’ll do better if you take baby steps rather than one big giant step.
Negativity: Don’t be negative. Make sure your goal is something you want rather than something you want to avoid.
Flexible: Remember to be flexible. If you encounter obstacles along the way, don’t quit and give up on your goals. Instead, modify them to meet your current situation. If a particular goal becomes something that is no longer important to you, then you should be open to letting it go. That will allow you to put your energy into pursuing goals that are important to you.
There are various ways to do these but my favourite is by doing a vision board (dream board, treasure map or a visual explorer or creativity collage) and that’s probably because I’m a very visual, creative person. Anyway, they’re typically a poster board on which you paste or collage images that you’ve torn out from various magazines. They are so simple to make and loads of fun. The idea behind them is that when you surround yourself with images of who you want to become, the life you want to lead, where you want to live, or where you want to go on holiday and so on, your life changes to match those images and those desires. It sounds far fetched but they work! Remember too that you can do these for so many aspects. For example, with your team at work, your children, and I once suggested to a teaching friend of mine to do one with her class of 11yr old boys, and they loved it!
Anyway, here’s how to do a vision board.
Step 1: Go through your magazines, and tear images or text that appeals to you from them. If you’ve got kids, you might want to do this with them – then you can get their buy in too. Then go through photos you have and allocate these. Anyway, have fun with it and make a big pile of images and phrases and words.
Step 2: Go through the images and begin to lay your favourites on the board. This step is where your intuition comes in and you can be as creative as you want in terms of layout. There’s no right or wrong way. This is your board so present it in the way you want to see it.
Step 3: Glue everything onto the board. Add writing if you want. You can paint on it, or write words with markers.
Step 4: Leave space in the very centre of the vision board for a fantastic photo of yourself where you look radiant and happy. Paste yourself in the centre of your board and include family photos too as these help to make it more real.
Step 5: Hang your vision board in a place where you will see it often. I have mine in my bedroom so I see it morning and night, at the very least.
Online dream boards
This works in the same way that a vision board works on paper, but it’s online. This one is called The Dream Timeline and has been developed by a couple of friends of mine.
So my question to you is have you set your goals for this year? Are you clear on what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there? Did you base them on how you want to feel or just plan as we’ve been conditioned to? And finally, have you set goals, produced vision boards that have mostly come off as a result? Please share your tips, your vision boards, experiences and feedback in the comments below. I’d love to hear. Finally, thank you, as always for reading and contributing here. If you found this useful, please share it with your friends!
With love and gratitude – as always,
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