Does a shiver of anticipation run up your spine when you imagine the moments – all 525,600 of them – you’ll create in 2017? You can make this the best year of your life. It doesn’t matter whether 2016 was a fabulous year or a year you’d like to kick to the curb. Whether you feel “ho hum” or “let’s go,” you’ve got nearly 365 days to imagine, design, act and create on this next lap around the sun called a year of your life.
When you look back a year from now, what would you like to celebrate on New Year’s Eve - 2017?
57% of Americans don’t have an answer to that question. However, if you want 2017 to be your “best year ever,” writing your goals is almost mandatory. One of the reasons most people don’t write out their goals is that they’ve had a negative experience with goals. Writing out our goals increases accountability. We’re funny critters. Many folks prefer not writing their goals to the embarrassment of missing them. I say “shoot for the stars.” You may only hit the moon, but if you don’t try, not much happens.
Goal setting methods that worked a couple decades ago aren’t nuanced enough for the 21st Century. As a business-life coach, I have entire systems to help clients achieve their goals. Here are a few of the common mistakes people make and the corresponding antidotes.
Writing Your Goals Out of Thin Air
You can write your goals out of thin air with very little thought, or you can reflect on the highlights of the previous year of your life. 2016 is filled with clues to help clarify what you want to stop, carry forward, amplify or create. What went well in 2016? Conversely, what didn’t go well? Both your longings and your discontent provide clues so your goals have meaning for you and relate to where you are.
Playing It Safe
Perhaps you were trained to write SMART goals, an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and set in Time goals. This is a good formula for writing a sentence, but not for writing goals. Yes, write goals that are specific and measurable. Attainable goals are a prescription for playing it safe. Based on current skills or incremental change, they tend to take the sizzle out of goals. In 6 months, you can learn a new language, write a book, learn a yoga routine, train a new employee, improve an important relationship and so much more. Why create one-year goals based on what you do today? Playing it safe rarely creates goals that inspire us. Involving your emotions, exponentially increases your chance to achieve your goals.
Writing a Laundry List of Goals
If you’ve written a laundry list of goals, they can become overwhelming. The antidote is to narrow your list to the most meaningful ones and harness the power of your WHY to accomplish them. When your WHY is stronger than circumstances, you’ll find ways to innovate, persevere and attract support and you’ll accomplish your goals. You can use your passion to build momentum. The success you experience in January carries you into February, and so on. Success breeds success.
Not Putting Your Goals In Your Calendar
Have you ever written a list of goals, and not put them in your calendar? It’s far too easy for something else to take priority. That lone October goal has a much greater chance of crossing the finish line when you add sub-goals. What needs to happen by September 1st to assure that you meet your October goal? By writing a series of mid-level goals, you’ll discover what you can do TODAY to take the first step. This brings you to tomorrow and next week, and you’re on your way.
Going It Alone
Many of us tend to do things ourselves - without asking for help. Study after study shows that seeking support from those with the expertise we need – working with a mentor or a coach – makes it far more likely to achieve our goals. Going it alone is the hard way.
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve got some excellent tools to make 2017 your best year ever, and that’s what I want for you.