The ultimate guide to setting and achieving your goals.
Setting goals is a vitally important step in your life, but we don’t usually pay it much attention. By taking the time to follow a process that defines and fleshes out your goals, they become real, tangible, and absolutely achievable.
The start of a new year is usually full of good intentions and hopes of self improvement. We approached business
and life coach, Janice Hanly, to find out how we can set effective goals for the new year, and actually achieve them by the time next year rolls around.
Food for thought: Need another reason to set goals? Exceeding your own expectations and watching yourself grow is a great self-confidence booster!
‘Goals are extremely important in every area of life,’ says Janice. ‘Without a goal it’s difficult to really achieve anything. Aside from giving us a sense of purpose, goals are necessary for both our professional and personal lives. They help us to achieve balance in all areas and give us a sense of achievement and satisfaction, which
ultimately leads to happiness.’
Janice suggests getting yourself a special notebook for this planning exercise so you can refer back to what you’ve written.
1. Name it
You can’t want something unless you know what that something is. It takes introspection to think it through and give your goal a name. When you’ve figured it out, write
2. Date it
Set a date for your goal. Without a date, it’s just a ‘somewhere along the line’ goal. Make sure your date is realistic; it can be six weeks or five years away, but having a date makes it real.
3. Visualise it
Open your mind and imagine yourself at that place where you’ve actually achieved your goal. What does it look like? How do you feel? Describe this in your notebook.
4. Question it
- Why do you want this goal? Introspect and work out why this is so important to you. Write down your reasons.
- What will it mean to you if you don’t achieve this goal? Will there be consequences? Asking these questions and writing down their answers will make you realise how important this goal is to you.
- How will achieving this goal benefit you? Writing this down helps you visualise achieving your goal.
- What has stopped you from achieving this goal until now, or what potential obstacles could stop you from achieving this goal? Finance, time, your own fears or perceptions? Write it all down, and next to each obstacle, write down a way to overcome it.
5. List it
- The resources you already have to help you achieve your goal: finance, internet, mentors, skills, experience.
- Resources you still need to help you achieve your goal: people, time, finance, training.
Did you know: Repeating affirmations every day causes your brain to lay down a new neural pathway that makes you start living your dream. This is called ‘brain gymnastics’.
Now that you’ve fleshed out your goal on paper where you can actually see it, you can start making it happen. Break your main goals down into small, manageable steps and milestones. Here’s how:
- Write down each stepping stone towards your goal and give each step a date. Even if it’s a long-term goal, what can you do today, tomorrow, next week to bring you closer to achieving it? Add these ‘deadlines’ to your calendar so you’re reminded to slowly gain momentum towards achieving your goal.
- Write down two affirmations or mantras for each of your main goals. An affirmation is a short statement that can be written in future tense, as though the goal has already been achieved. For example: ‘I am fit and healthy’, or, ‘I am a talented painter’, as though this has already happened. Negative words like ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t’ should not be included in your affirmations.
- Make a habit of saying these affirmations aloud every single day, 10 times a day. You don’t have to believe it to say it, but every time you hear the affirmation, your brain will start believing it.
- Write a statement of commitment to yourself. Commit to achieving your goal as you have planned. Date it, and sign it. Now you’ve made it official! Now you have a goal and a strategy to follow. It’s real. It’s tangible. And it’s within your grasp.
Feature: Candice Curtis