How to Set and Accomplish Goals for This New Year…and BeyondKatherine Monestel,DocuSend, powered by MTI
Posted on December 18, 2020
Goals should motivate you: if you are setting goals that do not make a positive impact that shows on your face (smile), they can be doubly hard to accomplish. Goal achievement requires commitment; commitment is hard enough in itself, and it becomes a huge challenge when the task is not bringing happiness.
So, how do you make sure your goals bring you joy so that you have the best possible chance of meeting them?
- Define the purpose and importance of the goal. Ask yourself: Why do I want to do this? or What do I want it for; what purpose does it serve? How will my life, business, relationship, etc., change when I achieve this goal? Write the answers and determine how significant an impact the goal will have. Understanding the weight of it will give you a sense of purpose, and this will keep you motivated during the difficult times.
- Break it down into small tasks. Short-term goals will help you to achieve immediate things and build your sense of accomplishment so the goal will gain impetus as time goes by instead of your enthusiasm for it dwindling. Some of these interim goals will take only hours or days (mini-goals), and will take weeks or months to realize. If your main goal is far-reaching, some of its minor components may take years. A good friend of mine set a career goal that spanned decades. She shares how that turned out:
- Make an action plan. You’ll need a clear strategy: Write it all down and keep it where you will see it often.
"I fell in love with Spanish from the first class in it I ever took. After nine years of study, I could read it OK, writing was adequate though laborious, and carrying on a conversation was beyond me. I decided that what I lacked was a goal, and I determined that it should be something that seemed out of reach so I would have to really strive for it. I decided I didn’t just want to become fluent in Spanish; I would not stop short of being bilingual. I broke this down into a list of ideas that could move me forward, like researching the best-rated workbooks, listening only to Spanish music while driving, watching Spanish TV and movies, and reading favorite books translated into Spanish. These tasks had to be things I would enjoy so I would stick with them—well, not so much the workbooks. Interim goals included hiring a tutor and later going to a foreign country for immersion. When the opportunity to move to a Spanish-speaking country came along, I went for it. After living here for five years, I reached professional working proficiency—cause for celebration! The experience of working with Spanish has led to full professional proficiency, and today anyone would say I’m bilingual. Now if I could just get rid of this little accent..."
No matter the timeline of your overarching goal, reaching shorter-term goals will keep you walking toward your main objective.
- Team brainstorming: Include your team on the strategy build, so you can get new ideas and perspectives that can improve your strategy.
- Do a SWOT analysis. You can apply this to your business or personal goals to create a strong strategy that takes advantage of your strengths and improves your areas of weakness. Look for opportunities that could arise and create strategies to avoid the threats.
Follow the Golden Rule of Goal-Setting
Set SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound.
Indeed.com demonstrates how to turn the goal “I want to be in leadership” into a SMART goal.
S = Specific—narrow it down: “I want to earn a position managing a development team for a startup tech company.”
M = Measurable: “I will apply to three open positions for the manager of a development team at a tech startup.”
A = Attainable: “I will update my resume with relevant qualifications, so I can apply to three open positions for the manager of a development team at a tech startup.”
R = Relevant: “To achieve my goal of being in leadership, I will update my resume with relevant qualifications so I can apply to three open positions for the manager of a development team at a tech startup.”
T = Time-Bound: “To achieve my goal of being in leadership, I will update my resume with relevant qualifications so I can apply to three open positions for the manager of a development team at a tech startup this week.”
There’s No Knowing Where Your Goals May Lead
Reaching your goals is one of the most fulfilling things in life, and it often brings unexpected rewards along the way. My friend got to live in a tropical paradise. A coworker of mine says that he built great relationships with people he met as he pursued his career goal with one company, and these relationships have continued even after moving on to another job.
My child has autism, and we started seeing that in our country all courses on autism had a cost. So we set a goal to start teaching about this topic to the community and teachers around us without charging them anything. We started a project with the help of our best friends. We contacted some professionals and asked if they were willing to come to our area and do a workshop about autism for interested teachers and families. We published those activities on a Facebook page, and many professionals (psychologists, therapists, doctors, teachers) from different areas called us because they liked the idea. And at the end of that year, we were getting calls from all over the country to support them with speeches about the topic. Speakers and other people volunteered their time and knowledge to help organize the event. This ended up spreading the courses around our country and helping other families and teachers that need some guidance about the spectrum. After some years, we can see how many other people started teaching about autism at no cost.
Goals sometimes surprise us. Just be open-minded and ready to embrace changes.