You can achieve the goals you set out for yourself… if you also have a plan.
This time of year, it’s not uncommon to take stock and think about all the things you want to accomplish in the new year – you know, that list of things you’ve never quite gotten around to yet.
Maybe it’s about eating better, getting fit or losing a few pounds. Maybe it’s about being more financially responsible and saving up for that trip you’ve always wanted to take. Everyone’s list is a little different.
But, if you’re like most, by the time the cold winds of February start to blow that list has been forgotten. It’s been hidden away at the back of the closet until it gets dragged out again next year. And, sometimes, even just being reminded of it makes you feel like you’ve failed in some way.
You haven’t failed. Far from it. The real problem was that you had a goal but no plan.
‘Being more financially sound’ is a great goal – we can all be better with our money. But, what was the first step to getting there…?
Most of the time, goals are big, philosophical or vague. The art to making them come true is to turn them into something specific that you can use to guide your actions in the here and now. Knowing what you want to accomplish is important, but you need to figure out how you’re going to get there or you’ll likely never make progress.
So, base your goals in concrete, observable and measurable behaviours. For every goal, ask yourself: What small things could I be doing differently to get there? Or, what can I do today to start living my life in a way that will get me closer to that goal?
The key is breaking it down – coming up with steps between here and there. This is where you’ll sometimes hear the ‘SMART’ acronym. Goals should be: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. You should be able to articulate specific steps between here and there, and give yourself a set amount of time to do them.
So, instead of saying: ‘I want to be better off financially,’ maybe you say: ‘Starting today, we’re going to cook at home and only order out once per week.’
Or, instead of saying: ‘I want to lose 10 pounds,’ you say: ‘Every night after dinner, I’m going to walk down to the corner to get a coffee.’
Then you build on that, adding the next achievable step that moves you towards that greater goal.
Too many times those New Year’s Resolutions are really just vague hopes with no real action plan attached. So, this year, it’s time to get SMART – and create steps that will get you closer to where you want to be.
Keep taking those small, measurable steps and you’ll be surprised how much more achievable those goals start to become.
Care to learn more about the real steps you can take to improve your wellbeing? Join our webinar next week on Bell Let's Talk Day (January 28 from 12-12:30 p.m. ET) for a talk about values, taking positive action and living a more resilient life! Register here to participate.
"Base your goals in concrete, observable and measurable behaviours."