It’s almost that time of year where we decide those things that we say are going to change as of January 1st, commonly known as a New Year’s Resolution. A resolution has a few meanings in the dictionary, but the one’s that I find to be the most descriptive are: 1.) To decide firmly on a course of action, and 2.) A firm determination to do something. Notice that both of these definitions use the word “firm.” This means that it is not something to take lightly, which is what I find to be a big part of the reason we, myself included, seem to let our resolutions fall by the wayside after a short period.
I am about to share with you a few ways to help put some focus on the plan of action for your resolutions and to let you know if you are on track with that plan of action.
1. Use the SMART method when it comes to defining your goal/s. This is an acronym that first appeared in a November 1981 issue of Management Review in an article by George T. Doran. It stands for:
- Specific – target a specific area for improvement
- Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
- Attainable – Make sure it is achievable and realistic
- Realistic – State what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
- Time-Specific – Specify when the result(s) can be achieved.
2. Envision The End Result.
What does the end look like. Can you see yourself there? Imagine what the end result will look like, feel like, sound like, etc… The more realistic you can imagine this, the better chance you have of your subconscious mind finding creative ways to get you to that end result or goal.
3. Work Backwards.
Once you can see that achievable goal and see yourself to have already accomplished it in your mind, begin to work backwards from that point in time to today. In other words, if one of your goals is to save $20,000 by end of year 2014, how much do you need to have saved at the half-way point, or within 6 months? Obviously, your answer would probably be $10,000. Great. Now that you know that, what do you need to have within 3 months? Again, your answer is probably going to be $5,000. Ok. So taking it further, what would you need at the end of each month? The answer is $1,667. Of course you could have just taken the total amount and divided it by 12 to figure out the monthly savings required to reach your goal. This process should be applied to every goal it can be used for. The purpose of doing this is to break you goal/s into smaller bite-sized chunks that are not so overwhelming and intimidating. This way you do not get paralyzed from taking action, today, on your goals.
4. Micromanage Your Self And Your Goals.
Now that you have an idea of what each month’s goal will be to get you to that year-end achievement, break each month down into even smaller goals. You might want to look at what needs to be done each week to get you where you need to be at the end of each month. When you do this, it allows you to see your progress a lot more clearly and allows you to adjust your monthly, quarterly, and bi-annual benchmarks. Being flexible with your goals is what will allow you to not get disappointed when you get behind or don’t do something within the allotted time.
What I like to do once I know what each week looks like is to write down my daily “to-do’s,” or tasks, to get me where I need to be at the end of each week. This is the essence of micro-managing your yearly goals. As you complete each task, you cross it off your list. This works to give you a sense of accomplishment and re-enforces your will to keep pushing forward to complete your goal/s.
Along with this great method of stating and evaluating your goals and the progress in achieving them, you will definitely need a good amount of discipline in time management. If you are unable to manage your time, you will be hard-pressed in getting done what needs to be done each day.
I hope this article has helped you to think of new ways in achieving what it is you say you want to achieve. The methods found in this article have been around for a long time and will be around for a much longer time to come for one reason, they Work!