A new year is a time for new beginnings, whether we’re pursuing goals or changing careers. At this time of the year, people are thinking about making life changes. But how do we achieve them? How can we maximize the good intentions and energy of a fresh start and turn that into concrete results that last?
We all usually know when we’re not happy, or when we want to change something. But when it comes to figuring out how to make changes and where to start, somehow we usually get stuck. How do we know that we’re choosing the right goals? Our wish for self-improvement can be sometimes very overwhelming. There’s going to be hundreds of things you’re going to attempt this year. Bunch of them you will have to do either for your work or in your private life. So are they actually the right things to pursue?
Only you can answer that question. What would it be? What would be that extraordinary thing that you could accomplish? Is that something in your career or in your business, or your marriage, or your health? So think carefully, what would make this year extraordinary? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question.
However, one of the things that all the research shows about setting goals is that when people try too many, they get overwhelmed. People have a lot of things they want to accomplish when they think about self-improvement, but this multiplicity of goals actually works against you because it divides your focus. When our focus get’s scattered over too many goals, then we really run the risk of sabotaging real progress. In order to avoid this and to avoid all negativity that comes with it, like feelings of frustration and unnecessary stress it is essential to make priorities.
How to set right goals
We’ve got to narrow the focus and really lock in on seven to no more than ten goals that we’re going to shoot for for the entire year. Even those numbers need to be divided by the deadlines through the year so that we’re not trying to do too much at once. When we’re thinking about productivity, we often think in terms of just getting more done. But it’s not really about that, is it? It’s really about getting the right things done, not about getting more things done.
Basically it all comes down to narrowing that list of goals down and coming up with some sort of a realistic, achievable plan. And it all starts with clarity about what it is that you want for you life. Most people don’t take time or pause long enough to really think about what it is that they want. What do you want for yourself as a private person (spiritual, intellectual, emotional, physical life)? Secondly you need to think about your social relationships, about yourself as a social person (family, friends, colleagues). Think carefully about the quality of those relationships, what needs to be changed. Third aspect is that of our vocation, hobbies and finances. Are you unhappy at your current job? Looking for some new challenges and changes?
When you answer all these questions and get some clarity and perspective, you need to sit down and write it down on piece of paper. Articulate all that by writing it down. One of the biggest mistakes people make mistake is that they have these vague aspirations. They have these dreams and goals, but they’re not written down.
Let’s make it happen!
Having a goal, having intentionality, having clarity. That all makes a lot of sense, but that might not be enough if we can’t actually turn that into new behaviors and new habits. How can we actually change patterns of our behavior? Problem is in our head! Some of us have certain limiting belifes which hold us back. They keep us from behaving in a certain way because we think maybe that we’re too old or that we’re too young, or we don’t have enough experience, have enough education. The problem is is that limiting beliefs are typically in our head. They don’t exist out there, although we tend to externalize them. You need to identify those limiting beliefs and replace them with more proactive thoughts.
Good strategy and approach is always important, SMART framework is one of them. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. For all three most important aspects of your life private, social, professional you can apply this approach. The people that really achieve big results in their lives aren’t smarter than you. They’re not more educated, they’re not more experienced. They’re people usually that have clarity and people that have courage to step out of their comfort zones. That’s the only difference. People can accomplish an enormous amount if they’re willing to work to get clarity, and if they’re willing to be brave.
Be smart, be healthy and reach your full physical and psychological potential, reach your equilibrium.
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