New Year, New You, right? At the start of a new year, everyone is charged and ready to change their world. I love the energy of new beginnings. You’ll hear conversations about resolutions, declarations and goal setting. Is this you? Now, that you have made the big declarations and maybe even set a few goals. What’s next?
I will share with you the process to establish a plan to achieve your goals this year, but first let’s review the definition of a goal and how to determine your 2014 goals. In the previous post, I compared setting goals verses declaring resolutions.
A goal is the foundation of a well developed plan. It is a clearly stated objective or desire. S.M.A.R.T. goals are still the standard. A goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time sensitive. To establish your goals: decide exactly what you want. Let yourself dream BIG Start off by thinking about everything you want to be, do or have. Brian Tracy, Success Guru, says it this way, “Imagine that you could waive a magic wand and make your life perfect in every way, what it would look like?”
a. Income – How much do you want to earn this year?
b. Family – What kind of lifestyle you want to create for yourself or family?
c. Health – How would your health be different a year from now?
d. Personal Well Being – How would you feel?
Once your mind and heart are activated to what you REALLY want in life and not just to what you think is possible, write down your top three goals. One way to narrow down the options is to ask yourself, which goals, if accomplished, will get me closer to the other goals or will make a significant difference in my life?
Now you have your top three priority goals to focus on for the year. From this point forward, I will focus on the planning process for one of the three goals.
1. Write it down. Write your goal in the present tense in a very detailed manner, as if you were placing an order at your favorite sandwich shop and you are ordering it just the way you like it! Be very specific.
2. Set a deadline. The deadline activates your mind, consciously and unconsciously. A goal without a deadline is a wish. The date is not static. If you do not reach your goals by the date, adjust and set another date.
3. Identify the obstacles. The purpose of this step is not to scare you, but to prepare you. When you identify the hindrances that may prevent you from achieving your goal, you can prepare to deal with them head-on, instead of being side-swiped later. Do not allow these obstacles to stop you from moving forward, however. (Hint: Obstacles are illusions. 80% of why you have not already accomplished what you want lies within you. Look within first.)
4. List the resources and people needed. Do you have everything you need to accomplish your goal? Will it require you to develop new skills or to attain more knowledge? Everyone needs a support team. Identify the people whose assistance or support you will need to achieve your goal.
5. Make a list of everything you will have to do. Combine the obstacles and the resources and then list every step necessary to accomplish your goal. List everything you can think of. If something comes up later, put it on the list.
6. Organize the list into a plan. Organize the steps you have identified by sequence (order) and priority (importance). Then write down the series of steps from the beginning to the completion of the goal.
Now you have a roadmap! When you marry a goal with a plan, you are more likely to achieve that goal. Setting a goal is only half of the process; making a plan to accomplish the goal is the other half. The rule is that each minute spent in planning saves ten minutes in execution. That brings me to the final point, EXECUTION! A goal and a plan are meaningless without taking action.
Samirian Hill, The MoneyWise Teacher, is the founder and President of BudgetWise Financial Solutions, LLC, a financial education, consultancy, and training firm. They teach people to manage money wisely, ways to save money and strategies to make more money. In her spare time, she enjoys, golf, reading, and cooking. For more information: www.budgetwisefinancial.com