It’s that time of year when many of us begin reflecting on the past year; pondering over the good, the bad, the times we were happy and the times we were sad. We think about the things we accomplished and the things we wish we had. Eventually, our thoughts turn toward the coming new year. We begin to think about what we wish to do the next year, we identify our new year’s resolutions, we set goals and tell ourselves we will do it. Sadly, many times we never fulfill those goals.
Why don’t we fulfill them? Because we just don’t do it. We tell ourselves we are going to do this and/or that, but never actually do it. One reason we don’t do it is because we don’t plan. When we plan, we are more committed to accomplishing the things we desire.
When I think about setting goals, there are five one word questions or steps that come to mind. Each is listed below in what I consider the order of importance.
The first step to setting goals is determining WHAT the goals will be; it is the foundation.
Second, you must determine WHEN you will fulfill these goals. Simply stating next year is not enough; you must establish a clearly defined timeline.
Third, and the one step in the process that is probably most ignored, is HOW. To achieve your goals, you need to prepare. You must develop a plan that clearly outlines the actions that must be taken to achieve the goals as well as the required resources.
Fourth, is accepting that all though these may be personal goals, many times you cannot accomplish them on your own. You need the encouragement and help of others. To obtain that help you must be willing, and when necessary, to share your goals with others in the hope of obtaining their support. Therefore, as part of your planning, you must determine WHO would be best in helping you achieve your goals.
One of, if not the most important steps in goal setting is knowing the WHY. Why are these the goals you have set? Are they a need or a want? If it is something you want, but do not need, what is your motivation for wanting it? This is where the WHAT and the WHY come together. When setting goals, we are quick to say what we think we want and then set that as our goal, but often fail to truly consider why we want it resulting in our failure to fulfill that goal. Because of this, some would argue that the WHY should be the first step, that it should be the foundation of achieving goals. To me the WHY is the peak, it is the thing that one is really aiming for in attempting to fulfill their goals. When you know the WHY, you are more motivated, you have the needed desire to take the necessary steps to reaching your goals; it is what will keep you going. It is for this reason that the WHY is ten times more important than all the other steps in the process.
As you ponder over what your new year resolutions or goals will be, consider the steps above. If you truly want to fulfill those goals, identify the: What? When? How? Who? And Why? Write them down, but don’t just write them down and forget about them. The final step in achieving your goals is to:
Once you have a plan in place, use it; aim high. A plan is useless unless you put it to work.