There is an old saying that a goal not written down is just a dream, and will fade away from our memory just like a dream. And a resolution made around midnight on the 31st December will often depart much quicker.
New Year Resolutions are really wishful thinking just like that dream, and we often daydream; and they usually centre around that elusive ‘lottery win’! “If only I could win the lottery, I could do anything I wanted.” Such thoughts are common and not really a bad thing, it’s fun to visualise how we would spend all those millions; but really when we come back to reality we know it just aint gonna happen.
Resolutions made in the emotion of the moment, determined by the sound of fireworks and merrymaking, are often fuelled by champagne rather than determination. It may well be that these resolutions are a recognition that some kind of change in our lives is needed. But like that elusive lottery win, unless we do something practical about creating that change we will be back in the old routine by February.
So let’s stop thinking about making a resolution, which is merely statement of intention, and start thinking of setting real and achievable goals.
The goals I am talking about are those that live in our world, the world of reality which continues on after the hangover on the 1st of January! Unless we really make some effort to precisely define and plan for them they are just as possible as all those dreams of a lottery win, and by June we will still be in the same place we were in December.
So, if your New Year Resolutions were the recognition of a real need for change, you will need to make a plan of action for achieving them, and recast them as goals.
Goals need to be given careful consideration and they need to be SMART! That is they need to be:
S Specific – that means clear and precise. Not just I want a better job, but I want a job that brings in at least $60,000 a year. If your main goal seems huge at this moment, you might need to plan the individual steps to achieve it; and each one of those steps becomes a specific goal along the way. The longest journey known to man began with just one step. But that step needs as much planning as the larger goal.
M Measurable – we need to be able to know when we have achieved it. And we need to be able to measure steps along the way. This is so important for continued motivation. We need the inspiration of ticking off the steps along the way to keep us focused on the main goal.
A Actionable – there are some specific actions that you can plan for that will lead to the goal in mind. Making your plan is similar to planning a route map. You need to know what has to be done to actually get there. Intend to improve your ability to give sales presentations? Then a good public speaking course is an action that will lead to your goal.
R Realistic – they have to be within the bounds of reality – if your specific goal is to obtain a job paying more than $60,000 it is unrealistic to aim for becoming a brain surgeon (unless you are a medical student). Pushing the boundaries is sometimes necessary to achieve your goal, but you need to have some realistic possibility of doing so, or its “lottery winning” time again.
T Time related – what is the time frame for you to achieve this goal. If no time limit is imposed on your goals then you can fool yourself that you are still working towards them when in reality you are just standing still.
So you could set yourself the Goal of “Achieving a position in a corporation as a Business Administrator/Manager with a salary of at least $60,000 a year within the next three years.”
Now write it down. Keep a copy in a newly created file and put a small copy in your wallet to be re-affirmed daily. Put it as your screen saver; make a poster and put it up on your wall – create ways of ensuring that you will see your written goal a number of times each day. The term ‘out of sight is out of mind’ is even more relevant when discussing goal setting.
But – just writing it down will not accomplish anything other than to remind you that you have not yet actually set out on your journey, remember you have to make a plan. Yes … more work! But without a plan nothing will ever happen. You will take out your written goals and wistfully think what a fool you were to believe in goal-setting.
So now you need to consider realistically what steps you will need to take to get you where you want to be. You will need to consider what resources you will need; what extra knowledge or qualifications; in fact what do you have to really do to achieve that goal – you know, the one that seemed so easy in New Year’s Eve. It is time to take stock and detail all the assets you already have and what contacts can help you on your way.
Planning for goal achievement needs enthusiasm and commitment. It needs the cooperation of all your support staff – family and friends need to be aware and enthusiastic about the final outcome. They also need a firm belief that you can do it, so that when your energy and enthusiasm fails (and sadly we must expect them to do so from time to time) – they will be your cheer squad and support team to encourage and support your through to the goal.
For attitude is the third thing that you will need to make sure that you get where you are aiming to be. Without a firm belief in your ultimate destination, you have little chance of gaining it. Strong faith and stern belief are the hall marks of any goal scorer. So if you are not sure how this works – here’s a hint.
It’s all in the positivity of your thinking and in the air of certain success that you create around you. Strengthen your sense of inevitability with strong affirmations; create that success through changing focus from negative to positive.
And there is one more hint that I can give you – whatever your chosen goal is; wherever it is you want to be at this time next year, there is one achievable action that will assist you to get there.
In all aspects of management, leadership or even self-development the ability to communicate clearly; listen carefully and comprehend correctly is a skill that will help to impel you along your road to success.
We at Trischel would be proud to be a part of your support team, and we can show you just how easy it is to turn your New Year Resolutions from ‘Intention’ to an ‘Achievable Outcome’.
Michele @ Trischel