Each new year brings with it the opportunity for a fresh start, a clean slate and giving thought to what might unfold over the next 12 months. Whether you’re setting goals for your business or for yourself, it’s important to have a plan.
“SMART” is a well-worn but still useful acronym that can be used to help define goals. Here’s a quick overview of SMART, followed by three additional ideas to consider when setting goals for 2014. According to SMART, goals should be:
- Specific — Instead of setting a goal to “get in shape,” set a goal to exercise five days a week for at least an hour and to drop 10 pounds by June 1.
- Measurable — It’s very difficult to measure progress toward a vague “get in shape” goal, but you can track whether or not you exercised five days a week. And, on June 1, you can hop on the scale and see how you did.
- Attainable — Making a goal to double your income in one year is unrealistic for most people. Setting a goal to increase your gross income by 10 percent, however, is challenging yet attainable.
- Relevant — The goals you chose to work toward should be relevant to you and your life; they should not be based on what someone else thinks you should do.
- Time-bound — A goal without an end-date attached isn’t a goal; it’s a dream. Assign deadlines for the completion of each goal you set.
The SMART model of goal setting is one approach, but there are many other ideas to consider as you think about your goals for 2014.
Consider Something Completely Different
If you tend to set the same types of goals each year (e.g., fitness, money, etc.), consider shaking it up in 2014. Set fresh goals that will test your limits and yet still be within the realm of possibility.
For example, you could set a goal to become fluent in Spanish, get funding for a research project, find a life partner, write a book, start a nonprofit organization or apply to law school. Let your mind wander and consider all possibilities. Don’t be afraid to take on a goal that might, at first glance, seem a little crazy. You only live once — don’t die curious.
Choose goals for next year that will, when achieved, actually mean something to you. Goals based on important, closely held values will be the most meaningful (and you’ll also be more likely to stick with them).
For instance, if financial independence is an important value to you, consider setting a goal to add a certain amount of money to your retirement plan, pushing yourself more than usual to make that happen. If personal growth is a high value for you, perhaps this is the year to sign up for a spiritual retreat of some sort or hire a coach who is experienced in helping individuals define and find life purpose. Or, if a closely held personal value is protecting the environment, your goal might be to invest in a solar energy system for your home.
Don’t Go Overboard
If you set 15 goals at the beginning of the year, chances are you won’t even be able to remember what they are in a few months, much less be working seriously toward achieving them. If your goals are significant and meaningful, they don’t need to be numerous.
Karen Childress is Colorado-based a freelance healthcare writer. Read more of her work atwww.karenchildress.com.
This article was provide by Multibriefs.