Happy New Year! It is now January 2018, which is the ideal month to set goals for the year ahead. Have you set your 2018 goals yet? I'll share 10 goal setting tips below, including the simple and very effective "one word for the year" strategy (tip #9).
First, let me share that I prefer the concept of goals better than resolutions. Resolutions seem like more of a wish or promise, whereas goals have a definite purpose that can be backed up with plans. If you prefer the term resolutions, great. In either case, make sure you write down your goals or resolutions this week, and then review them at least weekly in 2018. Reviewing your goals daily is even better, if possible.
Goals are a great way to distill your hopes and dreams into a few concrete focal points for 2018. I find it helpful to put goals into categories or values, which can then be prioritized. I also believe that "less is more" when it comes to goal setting. If you have just 3 goals for 2018 and achieve them, that is much better than having 25 goals and achieving none of them. Less is more.
Below are my top 10 goal setting tips, which I encourage you to use as they suit your needs:
- Write down your values. What is most important to you in life? Family, health, faith, career, community, friends, education, etc.? Write down somewhere between 3 to 10 values. Again, less is more.
- Prioritize your values. Based on the values you wrote down in step #1 above, prioritize them. Which value is the top priority for you? #2? And so on. Then, as you make decisions in your daily life, make sure a lower priority never eclipses a higher priority. For example, if family is a higher priority than friends, then maybe you should not be hanging out with X, Y, Z friend all of the time, but should be spending that time with your family. Of course, you probably do want to see friends too. Just make sure the balance leans toward the priorities in your life.
- Write down 1 to 2 goals for each value. Based on your prioritized values in step #2 above, write down 1 to 2 goals for each value for 2018. Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic and Time-based. Also, Michael Hyatt has a great book titled Your Best Year Ever that advocates for SMARTER goals, which you can learn more about here.
- Develop brief action plans to achieve each goal. Writing down goals in step #3 above is great and will likely give you some good results. However, you'll get much better results if you write down a brief action plan for each goal. Write down the steps will you need to take to achieve each goal.
- Take one step toward each goal today! It can be a small step. But just take a step on each of your goals today or tomorrow at the latest. Get momentum going. Step by step will get you to your goal.
- Review your goals at least weekly. Make time to review your goals weekly. Sunday afternoon can be a great time to do this review. Ideally, write down your goals on paper again weekly. This really helps cement your goals into your subconscious mind. If you can review your goals daily, even better.
- Allow your goals to evolve over the course of the year. You'll achieve goals as the year progresses, which then may naturally create some new goals for you. Or, you'll pivot away from some goals that you thought were important early in the year that aren't so important after all. Don't worry about your goals changing. This is normal. Often, when doing your weekly review in step #6 above, you'll notice your goals are evolving.
- Find a Goal Buddy. It is a very good idea to find someone you can share your goals with and who can help keep you accountable. Ideally they'll have goals they can share with you too. I have seen many friends lose weight or read books based on doing the activity together with others.
- Find your "One Word" for 2018. If the 8 points above seem too cumbersome to you, don't worry. You're not alone. Let me encourage you to at least identify "one word" for 2018 that can be your guiding intention or goal for the year. For example, in 2017 I determined my one word would be "health" and I ended up dropping 20 pounds in 2017. In 2018 my one word is "writer" and so I've launched this blog. What might your "one word" be for 2018? Take some time to think about it. Come up with a strong word and let it guide your actions daily in 2018.
- Lastly, here are a few resources to further fuel your goal setting in 2018:
- The book Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want -- Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy is the goal setting 101 book that you should read and implement its advice.
- A book that can help you identify your "one word" for 2018 is the wonderful book The ONE Thing by Gary Keller. This was one of my top 4 reads in 2017.
- My favorite book for setting and implementing goals for a team at work is The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney.
- Way of Life is a terrific App for your phone to help track your daily habits. You give yourself green check marks when you do a habit, and red X's when you don't. It sounds simple, which it is, and it works! Check it out here: http://wayoflifeapp.com/
It is not rocket science to set and achieve goals, but it does take intent and discipline. What advice on goal setting am I missing or what questions do you have? Please share your goal setting tips in the comments section below. Also, please share this post with your network. Thanks!
Great post, Mike! 1 and 2 are so important. Simple advice, but it works. Looking forward to reading your new blog!
Posted by: Robert Stabio | 01/24/2018 at 03:54 PM
Robert, thanks so much! And agreed. Too often we can forge ahead with goals and plans without thinking about priorities. For example, I've seen friends embark on a major health/race goal like trying to do the Leadville 100. Which is a good thing to do of course. However, as they embark on the intense training required, they realize it is taking away time from their families, a higher priority value. It's helpful to think through prioritization of values, so that a lower value doesn't steal from a higher value. I think you do this very well!
Posted by: Mike Pritchard | 01/26/2018 at 10:33 AM