The art of goal-setting

This month a lot of us are staring at a blank whiteboard thinking about what we are going to accomplish in 2016.

Setting your goals for the year ahead is an extremely important task that everyone should take very seriously. When you’re not striving to reach specific milestones or targets, it is very easy to fall into a hole where you lack motivation and drive – it will certainly show in your results. Not that goals shouldn’t be reviewed, added or changed throughout the year as you tick a few off – January is just a convenient time to do it.

When I consider what I am going to accomplish for the year, I break them up into three categories: health, business and community. I find these three areas complement each other nicely. The fitter and healthier I am, the more productive I am, and the more energy I have to focus on my business-related goals. The more revenue I can generate, the more I can contribute to my community through various levels of engagement like sport sponsorships, fundraisers, awareness events for health causes and so on.

I also find it helpful to track my progress by linking small goals each month or quarter to the larger goal. So, if one of your goals is due in September, then make sure you have milestones along the way so you can measure your progress accurately – this will improve your chances of success significantly. Also, ensure your goals have a purpose – not just to make you more money or benefit you – make sure they serve a greater purpose to others and you’ll feel a much higher level of fulfilment when you succeed.

When I set my goals I ensure they fit within the S.M.A.R.T framework:

• Specific
• Measurable
• Achievable
• Realistic
• Timely

Lastly, don’t list too many goals! Think of the biggest and most important few, and focus all of your energy on those goals. You’ll want to cover a lot of ground and change the world in one year, but the reality is time will fly by so fast and you’ll be so far behind that it will be easier to give up than to keep going. If you just have a few, you can quickly make up some ground and get back on track to ensure you have a successful year.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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