26 Dec 5 Effective Ways To Set Meaningful Goals For The New Year And Beyond
The start of a New Year is the perfect time to pause, reflect, and set fresh goals.
But goals are helpful and important only if they are meaningful to you. Not only are you more likely to work hard if the goals you wish to achieve feel relevant and exciting, but you are also more likely to gain greater satisfaction from fulfilling them.
Why Set Goals?
Setting goals and objectives may just feel like the trendy thing to do at the start of a New Year. But studies show that those who set positive and achievable goals can experience higher levels of happiness and fulfilment overall.
Most people have goals and objectives in mind all the time — both personally and professionally — but it is articulating these goals that gives them power.
Setting goals can make the difference between simply wishing for something to happen while taking no action to achieve it, and making a plan to go out and reach your target.
Clear goals and objectives help to give you purpose and momentum at the start of a New Year, and they can also take you closer to where you want to be in life or in business, for example.
Goals do not have to be intimidating, punishing, or painfully difficult to reach. In fact, you are far more likely to achieve positive results if you make the experience fun and manageable.
How To Set Great Goals
STEP 1: Assess What Matters to You
A great way to begin setting your goals is to first consider the things that really matter to you. Many people divide these into values, categories, or a mixture of both.
At work, perhaps you value originality and creativity, or great customer service, for example. While the life categories that matter to you may include work, family, spirituality, or health.
Know clearly what matters to you and you will understand what to prioritise – and equally – what could be considered a distraction.
STEP 2: Stop, Start, Continue
A simple but highly effective way to begin your goal setting is to do a Stop, Start, and Continue list.
This involves assessing your life as it currently stands — whether at home, at work, or both. Consider the things that you would like to stop, things that you would like to start, and things that you would like to continue or do more.
Examples of things to ‘stop’ might be leaving tasks until the last minute, or arriving late to meetings, for example.
Things that you might wish to start could be a new hobby or mindfulness practice, perhaps.
And things that you may wish to continue are things in your life that are going well and bringing genuine value, such as catch-ups with a loved one or valuable progress at work.
STEP 3: Improve, Protect, And Put in Place
Once you know your values and priorities, consider what things would help to improve, protect, or put them in place.
You may wish to improve your personal health by switching to a healthier diet, or to improve the growth of your business by hiring a bid writer, for example. And perhaps you wish to protect your quality time with family by scheduling events together and taking time off work to make the most of them.
This step is where you really consider what actions or routines would genuinely help to support your goals and values. It can be applied both at home and in business.
Get creative when considering this. How could you truly expand, refine, and improve your lifestyle?
STEP 4: Break Things Down
You have now considered the big picture and developed an overview of the goals and improvements to make in your life and/or your business.
Now is the time to break down those goals into small, actionable, and achievable steps. This is what will help to build momentum and keep your goals manageable on a daily basis.
For example, consider what steps you can take day by day that will get you closer to your goals. Then, what are some bigger steps you can take this week or this month?
By breaking a larger goal down into monthly, weekly, or even daily action steps, you are well on your way to achieving it!
STEP 5: Make It Visual
Finally, make your goals both visual and visible by writing them down and ticking them off — no matter how small they are.
Studies show that tracking our progress can be key in building momentum and sticking to a plan, so do this in whatever way feels valuable to you.
Reward yourself for every win too — big or small — and enjoy the process. This is what will help you to keep going long after the New Year buzz has worn off!