As we wrap up another calendar year, we have an opportunity to reflect on the year that was and to set goals for a new twelve month period. It’s an amazing time of the year, filled with the best intentions and the promise of 365 brand new opportunities for us to do better and to be better. But, in order to actually reach those goals and look back on our achievements with a sense of pride, we need to put in some work. A calendar date – like New Year’s Day or your birthday or next Monday – isn’t going to magically transform your life. It’s only you and your hard work and commitment, who can do that. Ready to get started with the five top tips that will help you reach your goals this year?
Clarity on your Goals
All of the most inspiring leaders, globally, will explain the importance of having a clear vision for the future and how important it is to know exactly what you want to achieve. Any coach will tell you the exact same thing: gain clarity on exactly what it is that you want in your life and your career. Set yourself a clear goal and have that attached to a timeline. Be realistic and make sure that no matter how lofty your goal is, it’s actually achievable and realistically do-able. If you make the goal too hard, you may become disheartened and feel defeated and if you make it too easy, you may lose motivation anyway because you’re not learning or growing. So start where you are and be clear about your reality and then figure out how you would like to change your reality. How is your goal reality different from what you have right now? How does it look on a daily basis? How do you feel? What will happen if you don’t achieve this goal?
Obstacles and Opportunities
When we are working on a project in our careers, we generally conduct a full analysis on all the potential obstacles or threats and all the opportunities we have. We should be doing the exact same thing when it comes to any goal we are trying to achieve in our lives. Be honest with yourself and make a list of the obstacles you are likely to face and how you could overcome those and also make a list of all the opportunities and support you have at your disposal. This helps you refine your goal and your expectations for yourself in terms of reaching your goal and it helps prepare you for some of the battles you may have to face during your journey – thus ensuring that you don’t lose motivation at the first tiny hurdle you happen to encounter.
Do the Work
Once you know what it is that you’re trying to achieve and you understand what you’re working with in terms of opportunities and obstacles, you can start mapping out the actions you need to take, in order to reach your goal. If you have set the intention to improve your physical fitness levels this year, I am sure that you realize you’re not going to go from being a total couch potato, to running the New York Marathon in the final quarter of this year. You’re going to have to put in some work and you are going to have to increase your fitness and strength, incrementally, over time. It’s the same concept with every single goal – you need to break the work down into smaller and more manageable parts, on a weekly or monthly basis. This will ensure that you can track your progress and that you aren’t overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. Basically, you have to project manage this, sister!
I know a lot of people prefer to hustle in silence and just wow everyone with their results, and that is totally ok if that is what you want to do. However, it is exceptionally helpful to have someone you trust, cheering you on from the sidelines and holding you accountable to yourself and your goals. All the best athletes in the world, have a coach. Someone who monitors their progress and who gives them some real talk when they need it and who encourages them every step of the way. I recommend finding a trusted friend or a coach who is not emotionally invested in the outcome of your progress, to be your accountability coach and to check in with you weekly, to make sure you are on track to reaching your goals. They can also help you gain clarity if you falter or provide you with a sounding board to find alternatives if you can’t see a way forward.
Progress over Perfection
Whatever it is that you want to achieve, start where you are right now and work with what you have. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You just have to get started. Take the first step or do the first push-up or write the first word. Start small and aim for small, incremental improvements. It doesn’t have to be perfect – you just need to do your best and be able to see some progress between where you started and where you would like to end up.
Whatever it is that you want to achieve and no matter how lofty or impossible it may seem to others, please start by believing unequivocally in your dreams and your own abilities to do the work you need to do, in order to make those dreams come true. You don’t have to wait for a calendar date to change your life – start right now. Make a plan. Make progress every single day and don’t lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve. And don’t be surprised if this is the year that you smash your goals, girl!