Well what do you know? We all survived 2017! So, was 2017 everything you thought it would be? Are you sad to see it go or are you ecstatic to see it in your rearview mirror? Whatever the case, 2018 is a new year and this is the traditional time where people reflect on where they are and where they want to be.
This article is about setting goals in 2018 and making sure you stick to them and actually achieve them. Unfortunately, 2/3 of people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions by the end of January every year! You don’t want to be in that group. Here we will lay out some simple steps to help you formulate, set, keep and accomplish the right goals. The Method we are going to use is the SMART system. More on that later. But first, in order to move forward, sometimes it’s a good idea to take a quick look back.
Whatever your view of 2017, there were good things and bad things that happened, high points and low points that you went through. There are things to be learned from each so let’s see what we can learn with a quick review of the past year. The first thing you should do right now is get a pen and paper to write on. At the top left you will write GOOD. On the top right you will write BAD.
Next, I want you to think of just a few of the high points, good things, that happened to you in 2017. Maybe the birth of a child, a new job, a financial windfall, starting a new business. Whatever it is, write it down under the “GOOD” heading. Limit it to 3-5 events. And for each I want you to think of how that event improved your life and write how under each event.
Now move to the “BAD” heading and think of 3-5 negative events that impacted you in 2017. Maybe you had a health reversal, lost a job or ended a relationship. Whatever it is write it down. But for each of these, I want you to give some thought to how that event taught you a lesson. What did it show you that you could have done better or differently? Write that lesson learned under each negative event.
Look at those two columns. There are lessons to be learned in each. Cherish the good things and think about how you can get more of that in 2018. Appreciate the lessons you can learn from the bad things and think about how you can avoid those things going forward.
The second step is to identify and prioritize your CORE VALUES. These are the main areas of your life, listed in order of importance. List the following: Family, Worship, Work, Play and Me. These are the 5 areas that we can break your life down into. There are other subsets of these main categories, but for now let’s just focus on these 5 main areas. Family is your loved ones. Worship is your spiritual pursuits. Work is your career. Play is your recreation. Me is everything related to you and taking care of yourself. Now put a 1 next to the area that is of utmost importance. Then for the remaining four, put a 2 next to the next most important thing to you. Continue in this manner until every item is prioritized from 1-5.
Look at that list. It is a reflection of where you place your focus. It is a statement of who you are as a person and what you allow to happen in your life. For instance, if Family is number one, then you won’t allow Work or Play to take time away from your Family. If Worship is number one, you won’t allow Work or Play to interfere with it. And so on and so on, I think you get the point. It’s important to do this because the next step relies on knowing your Core Values.
The third step is laying out your actual goals for 2018. Think of 5-10 things that you most want to accomplish in 2018. They can range from financial goals to family goals to health and nutrition goals or career goals. Or maybe they could be personal improvement or spiritual goals. We don’t want too many, neither do we want too few. So keep it in the range of 5-10 things. But, use the SMART system to formulate your goals. What exactly is the SMART system?
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound.
Specific means clearly defining what you want and why. You can’t simply say you want to make more money. You have to say exactly how much, like $100k, $200k, etc. Then you have to know exactly WHY you want it. What will it do for you? How will having it benefit you and your loved ones? It’s important to know your why because it is what will keep you motivated when the going gets tough. And writing these things down will brand it into your subconscious and make it real to you.
Measurable means you can define exactly when you accomplish that goal. So, if the goal is to lose 20 pounds, you can measure that because the scale will tell you when you get there. Simply saying I want to slim down is not measurable.
Attainable means it is humanly within your ability to do it. Simply put, your goal should not be to leap 500 feet in the air, or become an Olympic level skater in 1 year. These things are simply not realistic. Realistic goals are things you can reasonably expect to accomplish within a given time frame with the resources you have at your disposal now or those you can realistically hope to obtain within the given time frame.
Relevant means it fits in harmony with your core values and the other goals you want to attain. For instance, maybe you want a new job. Maybe you need to educate yourself in some other field of endeavor, or complete a course. That goal supports the other so it’s relevant.
Time Bound means putting a deadline on the goal. There is a principle that goes “The time it takes to accomplish any task will expand to fit the time allotted for it.” That simply means if you never set a deadline to accomplish something, you will never accomplish that something. So if you want to save $1,000 for your emergency fund for instance, set deadlines and milestones. Like saving $100 per month for 10 months. That’s a deadline you can track and chart your results with.
So list your goals with the SMART system in mind. Once you have your list of goals, think of the things, people, systems or knowledge that you will need to assemble in your life to support getting them done. If you want to grow your wealth or get a new job, think about what people or groups would be supportive in getting you there. Also, think about what negative people you need to remove from your life that will only hold you back from that goal. If you want to start a business, what knowledge do you need to obtain to do it? List that and make a point to get after it.
Finally, I will leave you with 5 tips:
- Get an accountability partner. Let someone in your circle whom you trust know what you want and when you’re supposed to get it, then enlist them to check up on you at regular intervals to ensure you are on the right track.
- Live in daily state of gratitude. Begin each day by listing a few of the things you are grateful for having in your life. This will keep you positive and on track.
- Remember your “WHY” every day. Keep it close to you. Write it down, carry it with you. Read it daily because this will motivate you to keep going when the going gets tough and the crabs are nipping at your heels.
- Document your journey. Make a point to keep a journal and write in it at the end of every day. Jot down your successes, your “failures” and how you intend to learn from each. When you can look back over a solid, written record of progress it reinforces in your mind that you have come a long way and you can get to your ultimate goal.
- Remember to celebrate your milestones. If you reach a critical milestone on the way to accomplishing a major goal, or especially if you actually accomplish that major goal, celebrate! Go out for dinner, take in a movie, buy a little something. You don’t need to go overboard, but do something to reward yourself for a job well done. This will refresh and recharge you for the journey ahead.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything you will need to do to accomplish your goals in 2018. There are a lot of things that go into a successful year. But these principles I have shared with you have helped me and the clients I work with to reach the goals that they dream of in life. I hope you find them equally as useful. For more tips, head on over to my blog at www.org4lifesolutions.com and join my email list to stay up on the latest on setting your life up for success and wealth. Just remember, it won’t do you any good unless you actually put the work in! So onward to success in 2018. I wish you every good success. Own it, be it, achieve it. Now go out there and let the world know you are coming for it and it better get out of your way!