The new year is looming and the best time to set goals and plan is ahead of time. Thinking about the new year during the last 6 to 8 weeks of the previous year will leave you feeling organized and focused. I know I enjoy the Holidays more when I know that I have a handle on what the first quarter of the next year and beyond will look like.
You’ve most likely set goals before and you have made lots of plans. Sometimes everything works out beautifully, other times thinks work out – well – let’s just say – not as planned. Both scenarios can be successful. A change in plans may yield a new goal or new possibility. In my experience working with clients, planners and goals setters achieve more even if things don’t unfold smoothly or there are a few detours.
If the word “goal” sends you running for the hills, or maybe the word gives you that instant feeling of stress, you can still set effective goals and plans in place.
Yes, just setting a goal induces some stress. You might think, “What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? or ” I don’t even know how to begin”. Think of words like “focus” or “objective” or “direction” or “dream” when you think about goals. Don’t let anything regarding your past efforts haunt you. Today is a brand new day. You can think and be whatever you want starting right now.
Goals and plans can be formally written in great detail or they can be written in a simple bullet list or in whatever way makes the most sense for you. The key is to find what works for you.
If you know that people who create goals and make plans, achieve more… then, it makes sense to do it, too. It is kind of like knowing that brushing your teeth yields a healthier mouth. You do it because not doing it just doesn’t make sense.
The most important points about your goals and plans:
- Your goals are unique to you and important to you.
- Your goals make your life more exciting.
- Your goals do not create a deep sense of burden or heaviness.
- Your plan is a stretch, but achievable.
- You concentrate on a shorter list that is significant (not 50 things).
- You create a way to clearly see how to get from point A to point B.
- You hold yourself accountable.
- You reward yourself for milestones.
- You enjoy the process, not just the end result.
- Your goals focus on you living your ideal of your optimized life.
First, paint the big picture. What do you want? You get to decide. It is your picture. Reflect on all areas of your life: work, relationships, family, spirituality, intellectual aspects, and your health (add more if you want). Then fill in the details with the daily, monthly, quarterly planned action steps. Evaluate each action you plan on taking and make sure that it fulfills some part of your plan. If it doesn’t, why is it on your to-do list?
For example, let’s look at volunteering at your child’s school. If you look at that activity and see it as part of your overall plan to have a strong family bond and a message that education is important, maybe keep that activity. But, if you look at volunteering at your child’s school as something you “should” do or maybe you even have a hard time saying “no” when you know it will not work with your schedule, this might be something you take off your list. The beauty of it is that you get to make the decisions about meaning and importance regarding your plans.
Another planning tip: avoid writing things that you have written hundreds of time like” I will lose 20 pounds”. Try to come up with a new twist; ” I will eat more whole foods.” or “I will find movement that I enjoy.” (For me, this year, it was discovering a love of golfing. I don’t think, “oh, I am going to exercise” I think “I can’t wait to get out on the course.”) Another example, “I will pay off all my debts”. How about a new twist? “I will open all of my statements in a timely manner.” and “I will make timely payments”.
Another tip: Stop worrying about making every moment of your life “productive” and just live it. If you like watching a few tv shows, go for it. Let yourself have time to just goof around.
Note that in the above graphic, I don’t include anything about my family, that is because my family is an area of my life that, for right now, feels really good. I feel great about my relationships. I could include maintain great family relationships in my goals. But it is one area that just feels like it doesn’t need to be on a goals chart. (Remember, you get to decide what goes into your goals and planning.)
When you create your plan, keep it front of you. Have it posted on your wall by your desk, keep a copy in your journal, and/or have it in a file that is close at hand. I have a red folder to signify the importance of it.
If you would like help with your planning and your goals, I invite you to schedule a complimentary strategy session with me Click Here to schedule.
Dr. Sheri Kaye Hoff
Your Inspired Action Success Coach