By this time, mid-January, you may be losing focus on your New Year’s resolutions. The original hope and inspiration you had on January 1 may be giving way to the comforts of doing things the way you always have. If this is discouraging to you, please read on for some tips on how to truly reach your goals.
1) Are your goals written down?
If not, put them on paper. Research shows that written goals are more likely to be obtained than those that are not.
2) Consider how your written goals are worded.
Do your goals look like this?
– be more patient with my children
– make more money
– lose weight
– improve communication with my wife
If so, you need to get more specific. They need to be measurable and exact, with a time-frame. For example, “I will increase my income by $200 per month by the end of March,” instead of, “I want to make more money.”
3) Make a plan to reach the goal.
You cannot go from one place to another without a journey. How will you get from point A to point B? Again, write down steps to reach the goal.
For example. “By the end of January, I will have researched contract work I can do on the side to increase my income. By the end of February, I will have secured a client to work with and a start date in March.”
4) Break the plan down into steps.
Take the month of February, using the above example. Pretend you have determined to start dog walking to increase your income. So, your sub-steps may be:
– Feb 1-7, determine fee structure and brainstorm potential clients.
– Feb 8-20. Network in neighborhood with neighbors about dog walking services.
– Feb 20-30th. Interview with potential clients and sign a contract with two to start March 1.
Do you see how this is very different then vowing to earn more income but not thinking through how to get there?
5) Take Action.
When plans are broken down into smaller steps, you know what you need to do each day to bring about progress. A big change that seemed overwhelming then becomes manageable. You can even plan rewards for yourself for accomplishing parts of your plan.
Let’s look at one more example, this one about your marriage. Let’s say you want to improve your friendship with your wife. This is a great vision, by the way, because the research of John Gottman shows that couples that maintain a strong friendship are happier in their relationship long term.
A written, specific goal with a realistic time frame might look like this:
“I will improve my friendship with my wife this year, beginning this week, as measured by increasing the amount of time I spend with her on dates.”
The elaborated, written plan may be to date your wife once a week. To break the plan down into smaller parts, you could schedule one date night a week each month when you get paid, so you know the times you need to get babysitters and how much you have to spend on the date. Write them in your calendar and then ask your wife to line up the babysitter for the entire month. You can discuss ideas with each other about what you would like to do each month, which alone will improve your friendship. Then, you are free to talk and have fun together, like you did when you first met. When you do this, your marriage is going to have many lasting memories of time spent together at the beginning of next year.
In summary, goals need to be written, measurable, and specific, with a time frame. Then, break each goal down into a plan with steps along the way. That is how things get done. And, if you still are struggling to meet specific goals that are important to you, please call us. Working with others to help them reach their goals is what we do.