January, with the start of a brand new year, is typically the time to make resolutions. For your personal and career growth, goals can be an important part of renewing yourself for the year ahead. Where do you begin? Sit down with a pen and paper and these four tips.
IMAGINE THE IDEAL
In Danielle LaPorte’s amazing book The Fire Starter Sessions, she assigns the task of imagining your ideal day. This is a great exercise for anyone stuck with where to go next in their career. Take a few moments and just think blue sky. What would you LOVE to be doing in the New Year? Visualize yourself actually doing it – living it. There is something very powerful in carrying around a mental image of your ideal job and self.
BREAK BIG GOALS DOWN INTO SMALL GOALS
Large goals can seem overwhelming. Take some time to break each of your goals down into smaller, more manageable milestones. Maybe you want to save $5,000 this year – what do you need to save each month or even each week to accomplish that?
FOLLOW THE SMART PRINCIPLE
A classic in goal-setting literature, the SMART acronym describes your ideal goal. It is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-related. Narrow in on the exact nature of your goal and make sure you can measure your own success in achieving it. Ask yourself, is this a goal I can actually achieve? Is it appropriate to me and my lifestyle? And finally, can you link your goal to a specific time frame?
KEEP IT IN PERSPECTIVE
Some literature suggests that goal-setting is counter-productive, that it causes people to focus on the negative if they don’t achieve their goal, or to be driven toward only one measure of success. You can avoid the negative side-effects of goal setting by keeping it all in perspective and by setting the right kind-of goals (see above – are they attainable? relevant to you?). Ultimately, cut yourself some slack. Make a goal a strong intention, towards which you strive to shape your life in the year ahead. But ultimately, be flexible. You never know where life is going to take you – even to a place where your goal is no longer relevant.
There is no right or wrong way to set your goals – the process can be as personal as the goal itself. Write down your goals, or draw them out on a piece of paper. Or tuck them into your mind and allow them to set intention to each day you live in the year ahead.