I only hit two of my goals this year. Two of something like eight. Not really good stats when you think about it.
But you know what? I feel amazing. I feel like I really made improvement this year!
Because I made progress on all but one goal (and it was a goal I shouldn’t have made in the first place). I would have never accomplished even half of what I did if I hadn’t set clear, measurable goals, and big goals that I was passionate about, too!
That being said, I think I could have done a better job setting my goals, which would have helped to continue to push me to do better but also would have enabled me to reach my goals.
So, here are 5 tips (and one bonus tip) I’m passing on to you for setting and accomplishing goals:
- Goals must be dependent on me. The goals I really struggled with where the ones that relied on someone else, or something else happening. I realized halfway through the year that these kind of goals could end up being frustrating to me, no matter how many “right” things I do. So, I will now phrase all of my goals in the context of “What can I do?”
- Goals must be measurable. Most people know this, but I realized that I had done a poor job of setting up a couple of my goals to be easily measurable. How in the world am I supposed to know how many pieces I’d written, or how many books I’d read, if I didn’t keep a constant tally? This leads to my next point:
- Goals must be projects, not recurring tasks. I had a couple of goals that were simply recurring, such as “post a blog every week”. But when life happens – and life does happen – that means you automatically fail. One bad week and you’re done for the year. Maybe for some of you recurring tasks are a good thing, but I discovered that to make my goals both measurable and attainable, they have to have a set number. It’s much more exciting to say “I must write and post 52 blog posts this year” rather than “I must write and post 1 blog post every week.” Do I need to get on a weekly schedule? Absolutely. But the inspiration and drive won’t come if I get sick and have to postpone a blog post early in January, and I’m looking at a goal I’ve already failed early in the year. (And yes, this happened.)
- Goals must be exciting to me. I had one goal about reaching a certain number of website visitors. While this goes against my “goals must be dependent on me” idea, this one failed more because I didn’t actually care. I’m still in the early practicing stages of a blog, and I’m not even sure I’m ready for a huge audience. Consequently, I gave up on this goal early. It was by far my least favorite goal, and thus I made no efforts. (Ironically, I have reached my goal a few times nonetheless, but I consider these to be anomalies – they didn’t last.)
Bonus Tip – When You Don’t Reach A Goal
The whole point of setting a goal is to stick with it. And you want to feel enough responsibility that you push to make your goals realities. However, as mentioned prior, sometimes things come up in your life that inhibit or completely stop your ability to realize your goals. And the last thing that you should do is beat yourself up over an unreached goal. It’s not productive.
Instead, look at what happened and where you went wrong. Analyze it, and decide to make changes going forward. I had one writing goal that I realized a quarter of the way through the year wasn’t a good goal at all. Not because it wasn’t measurable or attainable, but because I had a lot of other similar writing projects going on, and the honest truth was that I wasn’t going to get to this particular writing goal until all these other projects were completed. So, I realized that going forward, I need to limit the number of similar projects that I have going on at the same time.
Don’t Quit, Even When You Miss A Goal
Regardless of why a goal failed, however, don’t beat yourself down into a depressed cycle about it. Get up and set another goal to try again! The whole point of goals is pushing yourself beyond what you had thought possible. Imagine what your life would have been like if you hadn’t even set a goal and pushed towards it. I’d be nowhere near where I am now in my accomplishments.
So get out there and start brainstorming some goals for the new year!
What have you found works for you when setting goals? Do you have any other tips or tricks you would add?