Setting Successful Goals
Tis’ the season for New Year resolutions. Like others, you may be thinking about goals you want to achieve in the new year. Goal setting is a powerful activity; shaping our dreams and giving us the ability to focus on the exact actions needed to meet the desired goal.
After years of acting as a trusted advisor to client’s life goals, we have a few tips on how to set-up your goals for success.
1.) Differentiate Between Goals and Wishes
First let’s talk about what a goal is not. It’s not a fantasy or a wish, all of which seldom get past the daydreaming stage into concrete action. Dreams can play a vital role in helping us form goals if we simply dig a bit deeper and create an action plan around it. Be as detailed as possible in defining your goal, asking yourself why and how the dream and goal is important to you.
2.) Goal Setting: Break it down
A well-set goal focuses on the change you aspire to see as well as the activities that might lead to these changes. It’s important to have clarity and focus and it’s beneficial to break the goal into small, measurable steps using the S.M.A.R.T. goal setting process.
Here are S.M.A.R.T. goal setting criteria:
- Specific: Straightforward and well-defined. Make sure the goal is clear to anyone who has a basic understanding of the issue or project.
- Measurable: Ensure your goal is quantifiable and able to be calculated.
- Attainable: The goal must be possible given your situation.
- Relevant: Make sure your goal is relevant to you and not what you feel you “should” do because of pressures from the outside world. You must believe in your goal.
- Time-bound: Your goal needs a target date, so you have a deadline to focus on and something to work toward.
3.) Write the Goals Down
Write your goals down and post it in a place where you will see it often. The phrase, out of sight, out of mind is true. Written goals force you to be clear on what you want, motivate you to take action and enable you to see and celebrate progress and success.
4.) Have Accountability
When someone knows what your goals are, they hold you accountable by asking you for updates on where you are in the process. If a goal is set and only one person knows it, does it really have any power? Many times, no. Share your goal with others and ask them to play a part in your success. Clients know from working with me, that once we put a goal in place, I’m always asking them for a progress report. Don’t be shy to ask a friend, family member or colleague to be your accountability partner.
5.) Celebrate Success Along the Way
Big goals aren’t going to happen overnight, in the next week or maybe even in the next year or five and that is okay. We tend to focus on the end goals rather than the small and significant steps we take to get us to that goal. But celebrating those small steps is important, as it fuels us for moving forward. Plus, success begets more success, so make sure to celebrate along the way!
As Johnson Bixby celebrates another year, we can attest to the significance goal setting plays in our client’s lives. We thank you for the privilege of being an accountability partner, advisor and cheerleader for your goals and look forward to your continued success.
From all of us at Johnson Bixby, we wish you and your families the best this holiday season and new year.
Written By Heidi M. Johnson Bixby, CFP®