This is the perfect time to write about setting new goals as we say goodbye to 2010. The beginning of a New Year is a time where most people set new goals for themselves. Did you achieve the goal/s that you set at the beginning of 2010? If so, well done, congratulations! For the rest of you: why didn’t you achieve your goal? Did you give up? How long did you last? ¾ of a year? ½ a year? One month? Do you remember the goal you set? Setting a goal is easy. Talking is easy. Talking about what it would be like once we have achieved a goal is easier. We entertain our imagination and it makes us feel good. However, there’s no question in my mind that the feeling we get when we actually achieve a goal is incomparable.
It’s easy to write a list of things that we would like to do. The stumbling block is often the nest stage. Doing.
I think I’ve identified the issue that a lot of us face. When setting new goals we imagine what it would be like once we have gotten to our destination. This makes us feel good and gets us excited, a key ingredient when looking at motivation. However, more often than not, we don’t give sufficient attention to the process needed to succeed. We don’t think about what we need to do in order to succeed or to assess accurately how big (or small) a task is.
What do I propose? When setting a goal for yourself, set a series of small milestones. Why? Three reasons. One, reaching small milestones gives you a continuous sense of gratification (Essential for keeping yourself motivated) Two, it becomes clearer how much effort on your behalf is needed to succeed. Three, as time passes you will be able to see clearly how far you have travelled. Again, absolutely essential for keeping yourself motivated.
Approach? Goal / Time = Plan. This is a simple equation I have developed to explain my approach. Here are some things to ask yourself. What is my goal? How much time do I have? How much time am I willing to dedicate to achieving this goal? How quickly do I want to succeed? By asking these questions, you have all the information needed to make a solid plan. You are then able to break your goals down into bite size chunks. You could possibly break them down into 12 milestones for the end of each month. Once you have done that you could break them down into weeks if you want, it’s totally up to you. What’s important is that you are setting checkpoints that prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
By setting small milestones for yourself it becomes easier to stay motivated. You’re encouraged to look at what you have achieved as opposed to what you haven’t, which in turn makes you feel better about yourself and keeps you motivated. You also get a sense of gratification every time you reach a milestone. Ideally you want to feel good right from the beginning. Why leave this till the end? Life is a journey not a destination. In fact put this on your list of goals: Feel good about everything you do.
Why do I feel confident giving this advice? Many times I have been a victim of the pitfalls of goal setting. Not understanding the effort and time required for success are the biggest culprits for my past failures. The advice that I have given you on this page should help you understand that setting a goal means doing something after you’ve spoken about it. Remember, talking is easy. Common sense? Not for all of us.
When I started my self study for Spanish my goal was to become fluent in 1 year (a goal I’m still pursuing) 3 months into my daily study/practice I became depressed and demotivated. Why? I didn’t feel as though I was making much progress. Why? It didn’t seem to me that I was moving at the pace required to succeed. Why? (Last one) I hadn’t set any milestones for myself. I was sprinting to the finish line with no concept of how lengthy the race was going to be. Under these circumstances I would expect anyone to become disheartened. When I recognised that I needed to revise my approach I came up with my equation ‘Goal / time = Plan‘ and it has worked wonders for me ever since.
I’m six months into my Spanish goal and I am well on my way to speaking Spanish fluent in the next six months 🙂
When setting goals for yourself break them down into small millstones based on how much time you have and how much effort you are realistically willing to put into achieving the results you desire. Where would you like to be by the end of January? February? And so on…
To prove my methodology correct and to demonstrate that I am not just a talker (remember, that’s easy) I am going to share my list of goals in the New Year and I’ll keep you updated regularly. Be sure to click like to in right side bar if you want to receive regular updates and/or show some support
What are you goals for the New Year? Have you experienced any of the things that I have described here? Let me know your thoughts and opinions by commenting below. Have a happy New Year.
Bonus: Video on the subject 🙂 Enjoy