After the last couple of years, no one could blame us if we gave up on the idea of setting goals. This is particularly so with uncertainty still in the air and plans constantly shifting as people have to isolate. But despite this, we cannot ignore the benefits that goal setting can bring us. Goals give us focus, making it easier for us to see where to place our attention and what we need to do going forward. So, regardless of the amount of uncertainty in our lives, goals help us achieve more. We just need to give a little thought to how we choose and set them. And that’s what we’re discussing in this blog post.
1. Choosing Your Goals
The first thing to remember is to forget any of society's expectations or outside pressures when choosing the goals you set. You might be surrounded by mumpreneurs who only focus on their monthly income and set all their goals around this. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right goal for you.
One of the easiest ways to identify the areas of your life that would most benefit from having goals is to look back on your review and reflections of 2021. This was the topic of last month's blog posts, so it would be well worth giving it a go now if you haven't done this yet.
In this, we looked at three key areas of your life: the personal, professional, and friends and family. You may decide that you want to set a goal for each of these areas, or it might be that you felt one area, in particular, was lagging behind. In that case, you could choose to focus solely on this. There is no right and wrong about this; it’s about what you want in the near future. If you're still not sure, paint a picture in your mind of what you would like your life to be like by the end of the year. Which area/s of your life are furthest from this picture?
2. Setting Your Goals
Once you've chosen the areas you would like to focus on, it's time to set those goals. But they can't just be any old goal such as 'I want to spend more time together as a family' or 'I want to be a millionaire by the end of the year'. We can spend all year thinking these things but never make any progress towards it.
For these goals to be useful in supporting you to achieve more, they must be what is known as SMART goals. This acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. For example, if you want to spend more time with your family, you could set a goal that you will spend a minimum of three hours together engaged in a family activity each month.
If you want to strike a balance between being realistic and stretching yourself, then we’d highly recommend using the technique of scaling goals as discussed in our newsletter with good, better and best goals. Remember, this can also help you deal with fluctuating situations and changes.
Finally, goals in your head don't tend to be successful. Record your goals somewhere, and make sure you evaluate and review them regularly. If you realise after a few months that you are way off target, adjust the goals to be more realistic.
3. Planning To Achieve Your Goals
This is one of the most important steps to achieving your goals, yet it is often neglected. Many decide what they want to achieve but don't think about the steps they need to take.
Take a look at the goals you've set and think about what needs to happen for you to achieve them by the end of the year. What steps are there along the way? For example, you might need to block out time each month on everyone’s calendar before you can spend time together. You’ll also have to plan what you’ll need to do. That’s not to say that we can plan out every step – sometimes life happens and throws different opportunities or obstacles in our way. But planning out some steps will help you to take action towards your goal.
Next, see if some of those goals you’ve set can be broken down into mini-goals. For example, if you are a mumpreneur who wants to increase your income, set realistic income goals for each month that will get you to your final goal.
We promise you, the more planning you do, the better. It’s why goal setting can work – because it encourages you to take those steps and hit smaller goals along the way. Remember, goals are not there to stress you out but to support you. Goals can and will change.
In our next blog post, we’ll be discussing ways to improve your chances of achieving goals. But before we do that, share in the comments a SMART goal you would like to achieve in 2022.
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