The end of the year is upon us, and that means it’s time to plan those New Year’s Resolutions. The issue, few of us write out our goals or make a real commitment to achieve them. Instead of always dreaming and planning for your life without any results, transform your goals into reality. It’s not as difficult as you think and it starts with writing down your goals with pen and paper.
A recent study by Forbes looked at the goals of Harvard MBA students. Only 3 percent of students surveyed had actually written out their goals, 13 percent had goals in mind but no plan or path while 84 percent had no goals at all. The worst thing you can do is have no goals at all, but even if you fall into the 13 percent of the population with goals but no clear vision, you’re life is not going to head down the path you want. It’s like heading to the grocery store without a list; you come back home with a lot of junk food and random items, but not enough to make the meals you want.
If you want the goals for your life to come to fruition, there are a few key principles you need to follow.
Write Them Down
Buy a Timeless Leather Journal. Grab a pen. Write down your goals. End of story. Writing down your goals makes them real and achievable. When you see them written down on paper, it suddenly makes them far more tangible, and you’ll feel more accountable. Studies have shown that individuals who write down their goals accomplish significantly more than those who don’t. And by using a journal, you can keep your goals with you no matter where you go and always refer back to your list. Plus, it feels exceptional to cross off your goals as you achieve them.
Create a Vision
Don’t be afraid to dream and dream big. What do you want your life to look like in a year? In five years? In twenty years? If your goal is to be a doctor, the CEO of a company, or a published author, then write out the steps in your life that it will take you to achieve your final goal. For example, if you want to be an author, your first step is to write the first draft of your book. Then, you have to edit and get to a final copy. Next, your goal needs to be to find a book agent and from there, get a publisher. Creating a vision that you can walk through a step at a time is key.
Write Smart Goals
When we say to write “smart” goals, we’re talking about getting specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely. The worst goal you could make is something vague like “Lose weight.” This tells you absolutely nothing and gives you nothing to shoot for. Instead, make a goal such as “Lose 20 pounds by February 1st, 2016.” The goal is measurable—you can easily see if you’ve lost the target weight. It’s specific—you don’t just want to lose weight, you want to lose 20 pounds. It’s realistic—you’re not trying to lose 20 pounds in a week, you’ve given yourself two months. And it’s timely—you have an end date of February 1st, which you have to hit. Smart goals help you work harder and reach your end destination.
Keep Your Goals Few
Don’t write out thirty goals at one time. That’s too much for any one person to accomplish and will only leave you feeling frustrated. It’s important to prioritize your goals and then write down only five to seven goals, which you can conceivably accomplish at a time. By keeping it small, you’ll better be able to keep your focus and achieve the goals you’ve laid out for yourself.
Writing down and planning out your goals isn’t just helpful, it’s necessary to adjust the course of your life. Goal setting also makes you a happier and more satisfied person because your life is heading in the direction you want. We encourage you to take an hour or two today to plan out your goals. You’ll be glad you did.
- JID x