Here it is again. The end of another year. Did this year go by in a flash? I know it did for me, just as it does every year. With 2006 just around the corner now is the time to sit down and write out our goals for next year. If we don’t, we will suddenly be at the end of the year again wondering what happened in the last twelve months and wondering why we are no closer to our dreams than we were when the year started. When we don’t set goals we see and experience the effects of what life brought to us rather than what we brought to our life on purpose.
We need to write our goals down on paper so we can refer to them often. They become a roadmap of the direction you are heading in. You can change them, tweak them, or refine them as often as you like. If they are in your head, you have to try to remember them as well as have the internal battle with your subconscious that keeps telling you not to worry about them anymore or that goals are too hard so you should just quit, and that can become difficult.
Setting goals is not that difficult. You remember the riddle, “how do you eat and elephant?” Well the answer is: “One bite at a time”. Obtaining the results you want in your life are very much the same way as eating an elephant. We certainly can’t expect to loose 20 percent or more of our weight in one month, just like we can’t expect to triple our income in one week. We must work through a process of steps and phases. Think about “what” it is that you want to accomplish or that you want to have in your life. Consider “why” you want it. Finally start to write down ideas of “how” you might reach or obtain it (also known as “action plans”). Goals and objectives aren't the same thing, although many people think they are. Goals are where you want to end up. Objectives are the steps to get there.
Use the SMART process when setting goals. You will find this method is simple and easy to execute. S stands for Specific. To have a goal that is not specific means whatever you get or wherever you finish is quite alright with you. To set a goal to have more money is not specific. It does not say how much more money. Make it more specific by saying, “I want to have $100 dollars more income per week”. This is specific. You can measure the progress. You will be able to see if you are on track or not and what you might need to do to adjust. M stands for Measurable. We just discussed measuring. If you can’t measure it, how will you know if you are accomplishing it? You won’t. You will never get the satisfaction of knowing that you have accomplished your goal if you can’t measure it. Keep that in mind when setting goals. Think about how or what you will use to measure it. Many people trying to loose weight no longer use a scale. They use a piece of clothing they would like to fit into. It is their reference point and measuring tool. Once they are able to fit into it, they know they have accomplished their goal of loosing weight. When a plane takes off for Hawaii, the pilot doesn’t just set the course and drink coffee for the duration of the flight. The pilot is constantly reading where the plane is and where it needs to be. The plane is always drifting off course, a little to the left or to the right. The pilot is always making corrections until the final destination is reached. If they were not paying attention and constantly checking, or measuring, who knows where the plane might end up? A stands for Achievable. Is the goal you are setting achievable? Can you really become a millionaire in 3 months? Are you setting yourself up for failure? Probably. You want to set your goals to be “just out of reach of your fingertips”. This way, with perseverance, it can be achieved. Too far, and failure is guaranteed. Go back to eating the elephant example. To have a goal to become a millionaire is a good goal to have, but that may be out there on your five year plan. A gentleman once told me that I could become a millionaire just as soon as I figured out how to make my first ten dollars. He was right. Small steps. Think about what steps you need to take now in order to become a millionaire in five years if that is your goal. Then make one of those steps your achievable goal to work on this year. This year’s goal might be to start your own business by first deciding which business to be in, obtaining your business license, getting a resale number from the board of equalization, all by Dec. 31st, 2006. That is certainly an achievable goal. R stands for Relevant or Realistic. Can it be done? Can you do it? Will this goal push you to learn something that you don’t already know? Will it begin to force you to think outside the box if you do not currently do that? Start to plan on ways that you will make the goal happen. Again, not too easy as it will not be worth your effort, and not too hard as you will likely give up too easily. The goal should also help move you towards achieving your bigger picture?
If your goal is to build your business by adding at least 5000 customers, can that be done? Is that goal realistic? Do you know how to do that? What is your plan of attack in order to achieve this goal? Most people actually set themselves up for failure in this step of the process and they are not even aware of it. They set a goal, it is measurable, it is achievable, but it is not realistic or relevant and consequently they fail and become disappointed. You have to be able to believe in what it is you are striving for and know that you can do it. You have to be able to feel it: taste it: breathe it: live it, and visualize it. If you don’t believe you can do it, your goal will die because there is nothing to fuel it. This is also where they say that a person’s character is measured: by their ability to continue to work the plan or idea long after the emotion they had when setting it is gone. T stands for Timely. What is the timeframe you are going to give yourself in order to accomplish these goals? Again, this needs to be specific. Is it one month, 6 months, 1 year? You need to have goals that have a time frame on them (that also have to be realistic). This will help to keep you on track and give a sense of urgency. No timeframe and you can just tell yourself you will start whenever. You need a very clear target to shoot at.
Finally, start working your goals and adjust them where you need to. Measure them often to make sure you are on track.
When 2006 is over, you will be proud of your accomplishments and knowing that YOU created your life in 2006 and that life didn’t just happen to you.
Michael Ochoa operates several websites and is a Success Coach who works with people helping them to build, develop and accomplish their own dreams of financial success and independence. Michael has worked in professional management for over 20 years, has earned two college degrees in Business and Accounting. Michael operates Top Rate Biz, a website that shows opportunities of having and running your own full time or part time business.