We’re fresh into the beginning of 2015 which means most of us have set some new goals or resolutions for the year. Right now it’s pretty easy to stay focused on achieving our goals as they are fresh in our mind and our motivation is running on high. As the year goes on, however, it can become more difficult to maintain the same level of focus and intensity. Once our focus is gone our goals might not be far behind. Follow these guidelines to help you stay focused on your goals throughout the year.
Set Only Meaningful Goals
It’s important to set goals for yourself that are important to you and hold personal value. It’s easy to get caught up in setting a goal that you think you should accomplish, for instance saving money, exercising, or losing weight. While those are all goals worth setting, if they aren’t important to you personally, it will be more difficult to achieve them. By setting goals that are important to you, you’ll be more invested in achieving your goals, especially when it comes to facing and overcoming barriers and obstacles. I also think it’s helpful to follow the SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Trackable) when setting goals.
Strike a Balance Between Realistic and Challenging
The goals you set for yourself should be both realistic and challenging. Goals should push us outside of our comfort zone, but not be so overwhelming that we don’t know where to begin. If you don’t get a little sense of discomfort or even fear, you may not be challenging yourself enough. On the other hand, if you’re not seeing any progress over time, it could be a sign that you need to break down your goal into more reasonable pieces. If you suspect you’ve set an unrealistic goal for yourself you don’t need to scrap the goal entirely. Simply scale back your expectations to a more reasonable level.
Also, it’s important to be honest with yourself about whether or not you have the appropriate resources in place to help you reach your goals. Time is a great example of a resource we tend to overlook. When planning your goals for the year make sure you have enough time to dedicate to achieving your goal.
Prioritize Your Goals
A common mistake is setting too many goals at once. It can be difficult to spread your time and energy out over several goals. Rather than overloading yourself with multiple goals, instead focus on just a few of the most important goals at a time. Once you accomplish these goals you can move on to another goal.
Make a Plan
A plan of action is what will take your goals from an idea to a reality. I like to work backward when I set goals. I start by making long-term goals, which gives me the direction I need to plan short-term goals. This method allows me to determine the order of my goals, and the path I need to follow to achieve them.
Write Down and Share Your Goals
Writing down your goals along with sharing your goals with others is an easy and effective way to stay focused. In fact, research shows that both writing down goals and sharing goals with others can significantly increase the odds of achievement. This is because sharing and writing down our goals makes them real and gives them life. Although we may not be razor focused on our goal all hours of the day, they still affect our day to day decisions and actions.
Setting goals is an important part of self improvement. Goal setting helps us determine what we would like to accomplish in our lives, and gives us the motivation and focus to help make it happen.
What goals have you set for yourself this year?