January is the traditional time to set goals. If you are like most people this is the time you set your New Year's resolutions. By February, the goals you set are all but forgotten. Soon yet another year has passed and you have accomplished very little.
How can you stop that from happening? How can you make this the year you reach all your goals?
To start the process, you'll need 30 minutes to an hour of quiet time and a pad and pencil. Imagine yourself 10 years into the future. Where do you want to be and what do you want to be doing with your life? Think through each aspect of your life. What kind of house do you want to live in? What kind of car do you want to drive? Who do you want to be living with? What will you look like? What will you do for a living? What would you like your annual income to be?
Write down the answers to these questions in as much detail as possible. Don't hold anything back. Write as if anything were possible.
Now take a closer look at your answers. What would you have to do in order to get where you want to go. Break bigger goals down into smaller ones. For example, if you would like to be earning $100,000 more than you presently earn in 10 years time, then you could set the goal of increasing your income by $10,000 each year over the next 10 years.
Don't worry of you don't know exactly HOW you are going to reach your goal. The HOW isn't nearly as important as the WHY. You must know why accomplishing this goal is important to you. If the WHY is strong enough, the HOW will take care of itself.
Think of it like driving at night in mist. As long as you can see a little bit of the road in front of you and you keep moving forward you will eventually reach your destination. As long as you can think of 1 step to take you in the direction of your goal, and you take it, you'll eventually reach your goal. That's because once you've taken the first step another step forward will reveal itself and so on until you reach your intended destination.
Set no more than 5-6 goals for the year. Setting more goals will be counterproductive and you will be spreading yourself too thin, setting too few goals will mean that you don't have enough of a challenge and certain areas of your life will be neglected.
Set goals in all major areas of your life that need to be improved - Physical, Financial, Personal Development, Relational and Spiritual. Now take a careful look at your goals. Is there any conflict between your goals?
For example, let's say you set a career goal that would necessitate spending more time at the office and a goal to spend more time with your family. These 2 goals would conflict with each other. Look carefully through your goals for any conflicting goals and readjust them. Using this example, perhaps it will take you 7 years rather than 5 years to reach your career goals so that you can spend more time with your family.
Next, ask yourself whether each goal meets all 4 of the following criteria:
Believable - You must believe that you can achieve the goal in order for you to achieve it.
Exciting - The goal must excite you, it must make you want to jump up ans start working on it.
Specific - The goal must also be specific and not vague. "I want to be wealthy" for example, is too vague. A better goal would be "I want to be worth a million dollars in 5 years time."
Deadline - Your goal must have a deadline. It's been said "A goal is a dream with a deadline." Without a deadline, your goal will lack the urgency needed for successful accomplishment.
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