As the new year is coming closer and closer, it is a good time to start looking at your goals. Goal setting, both personally and as a family, is a good habit for anyone. Much like a New Year’s Resolution (but better), yearly goals give you something to focus on for the coming year.
Why you should be setting goals.
The fact that having written goals helps you achieve the stuff of your dreams is absolutely no joke. The key is that you have to have it all written down. It is necessary to make a plan as to how you are going to make that dream a reality. There is something powerful about writing something like your goals down. It almost makes your dreams seem a little closer to reality.
Right now, it is hard to miss the buzz about goal setting. It is absolutely the thing to do at the end of the year. One of the many articles that I have read states that “setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation”. I really feel that this statement nails it on the head. When you think about your long term vision, you are recognizing that the things you do today will have an effect on your future.
How to set goals
Just like most things, goal setting really takes a bit of practice. Sometimes, you may overshoot your ability while other times you may undermine how much you can actually achieve in a given period. I fall into the first camp generally speaking. I am over-ambitious with what I feel like we can accomplish each year. For example, this year we had big plans and then I ended up leaving my career. That changed everything about our goals.
And you know what? It is okay! Sometimes we have to shift in our goals especially if the shift is due to an alignment with our life goals.
So how do you actually set goals? Using the SMART method is by far the most effective way of setting good, workable goals. SMART is an acronym and can have a variety of meanings for some of the letters.
Specific goals means that you are really focusing in on what the goal is, how the goal will be accomplished, when will it be accomplished, who will it involve, and (most importantly, but often disregarded) why do you want to accomplish this goal?
Measurable goals are quantifiable. Whether this is a dollar amount, a time amount, or more, it needs to be measured somehow.
Accountability. This is my favorite variation to this letter. I am absolutely a better, more productive person if I have some sort of accountability. Recently, I joined with a group of women to stay accountable to each other in our 12 Week Year goals. The author of The 12 Week Year, Brian Moran, states that people will perform better when they have someone to be accountable to. It is human nature to not want to let others down. Your accountability partner could be a friend, your spouse, your coworkers, or really anyone who is willing and able.
Relevant means that you need to be sure your goals are in line with your long term goals. This is absolutely where it is helpful to know exactly where you want to be in 20-30 years. Ask yourself if these short term goals will help you get there. If yes, proceed, if no, re-think it.
Time Bound goals are goals with a specific date to be accomplished. “In 5 years” is not specific enough. Really put a timeline on it. Having timelines helps you know when to make your next move or what you will be shooting for next. See my example below for a SMART goal that will then be broken down into smaller goals with smaller timelines (monthly/weekly).
There is a place and a time
Setting up your year or your life in goals is no easy feat and should not be taken lightly. Michael Hyatt, an entrepreneur and goal setting genius, suggests taking a break from your normal surroundings, going to a different place, and really digging into your goals. So grab your planning partner, some pens, paper, and whatever else you need, and go sit at your favorite coffee shop or library.
Mr. Hubster’s birthday is on December 11th. It is always the perfect time for us to set goals. We usually go out to dinner, leave the little one at home, and dig into our meal AND our goals. Our year end review also happens at this time.
Year end review
Just as it sounds, a year end review is a time for you to look back on your goals from last year and measure your success. Not only will a year end review help you learn about goal setting, your review will also guide you with your next years goals. This is especially true if you have your 5, 10, or life goals written down.
Give yourself a grade on each of your goals. Did you achieve 50% of your goal, 100%, 0%? This is a valuable tool for measuring your success.
I love having a vision board each year for my business, home, and life in general. Check out my Pinterest board where I have ideas for vision boards. If you don’t want to create a vision board, simply writing down your goals and posting them in an obvious place is helpful too. Money goals are sometimes fun to keep track of with a goal thermometer of sorts (tracker? I don’t really know what to call these things). Check out Debt Free Charts to get free charts or buy custom charts. Counting down to some big goal is just as fun as it is for a child to count down the days til Christmas. That is called #adulting.
I would love to hear about your goals for the year. What is one major goal that you want to accomplish in 2018?
Do you have money goals this year? I am now offering 1:1 budget coaching to the public and I want you to be among the first to know! Check out my budget posts and sign up for my newsletter for more info:)