It’s that time of year again. As Christmas and New Years Eve approaches we let ourselves off the leash. We allow ourselves to enjoy the holiday season, drinking and eating good food and spending time with our family and friends. We’ve earnt it. It’s been a long year.
It’s also the time of year where we start to create our list of new years resolutions. Let me guess, you want to lose 10 pounds, exercise more, be a better friend and travel overseas? But if this years anything like the last, or the one before that (or before that, and so on) our resolutions will be nothing more than wasted ink on a piece of paper. Studies suggest that a mere 8% of new years resolutions are achieved. So, if so many of us want to change, how come so few of us actually do?
I am the kind of person who is always looking for something that I can improve on. I set regular goals and I’m confident that I can consistently achieve them. But it wasn’t always like that. For me, sticking to any kind of plan or creating goals used to be an impossible task. I always wanted to be better, but I never knew how to take that desire and turn it into reality. Many mistakes and failed attempts have taught me a number of valuable lessons, and I want to share those lessons with you.
Here is my Bulletproof 4-Step Goal Setting Template For Achieving Your New Years Resolutions!
One of the most important steps for creating and following through with your new years resolutions it to create the right plan in the first place. Simply writing your resolution down on a piece of paper and forgetting about it, isn’t going to cut it.
Spend 10-15 minutes brainstorming and writing down everything you want to achieve in 2016, whether it be in the next week, month or by the end of the year. No need to be specific here, just create a list of everything you want to get done. Feel free to record your list on the computer or with pen and paper, whatever suits you.
From here take the list of goals you’ve created and make them SMART! From this point I would suggest that you start entering and recording everything on your computer. You will be doing a lot of editing, changing and reshaping at this stage and it will be a lot easier than writing and re-writing everything with pen and paper.
You may be familiar with the term, but for those of you who aren’t, SMART stands for the following:
Ensure your goals are specific to what you want to achieve. “I want to travel to Vancouver, Canada, by March 2016” is better than “I want to travel overseas”.
Make sure that you have a way of measuring the success of your goal. For example, “I want to lose 10 pounds” is easier to measure, than say, “I want to lose some weight”. Ask your self questions like “How much?”, “How many?”, “How will I know if I’ve achieved this goal?”.
This one is pretty self explanatory. Ensure that your goal is achievable. Ambitious goals are fantastic, but aiming to fly to the moon by the end of the year with no experience or training, isn’t likely to happen.
Whether or not your goal is realistic is completely specific to you. A goal can be both high and realistic if you are willing to put in the work and a effort to achieve it.
Define the time in which you want to achieve your goal. If your aim is pay off the mortgage of your house, make this timely by defining the day, month and year by which you want to have this done.
By making your goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely you are setting yourself up for long term success. The fact that you have a clear picture of exactly what you want to achieve and by when you gives you the best chance of achieving your goals.
At this point you should have taken the goals you initially drafted and made them SMART by ensuring they are all specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Now, take them and break them up into three groups
Short Term: < 1 month
Medium Term: > 1 month and < 3 months
Long Term: > 3 months
If, for example, you have a long term goal such as wanting to enrol into an educational course by the end of the year, consider if there is anything that you can do in the short or medium term that will bring you closer to achieving this goal. For example, you might aim to have saved $500 to pay for this course in the short term (<4 weeks), and $1,500 in the medium term (<12 weeks). Both of these goals should then be added into the appropriate time group. Creating a long term goal, and then using short and medium term goals as stepping stones to the overall achievement of this goal is important for keeping you focused and on track.
By this stage you should have a pretty concrete idea of what your goals are and when you would like to have them achieved by. Now, although it is fantastic that you have come this far, simply creating a set of short, medium and long term goals isn’t enough. To create a bullet proof plan you need to apply specific and direct effort towards achieving your goals, every single day. To make sure this happens, take a look at all of your short term goals and enter 3-4 ‘behaviours’ that can be completed daily or weekly that will bring you closer to achieving that goal.
For example, if your goal is to go running in the morning 3 times per week, your behaviours could look like this:
- Put running clothes out the night before.
- Get to bed by 9:30pm so I wake up fresh in the morning.
- Eat well everyday to maintain my energy levels.
By adding ‘behaviours’ to your short term goals you ensure that you don’t just ‘set and forget’. Everyday when you wake up you have something that you can focus on that is going to give you the best chance of achieving the goal you’ve set. This step is simple, but extremely effective and absolutely necessary.
You now have a solid 12-month, step-by-step plan, including all the tools you need to achieve your goals during this period. Congratulations! Although the process may take a little time to complete, always remember “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” This goal setting template is not only perfect for mapping out your new years resolutions, but can be used for your personal and professional goals as well.
Now, it’s great that you have your 12 month plan, but there a few things I like to do to really make sure I keep myself accountable and on track throughout the year. Here are a few tips you can use to increase your chances of achieving the goals you have created:
- READ YOUR GOALS EVERY MORNING UPON AWAKENING – One of the biggest challenges you’ll face throughout the year with staying true to your goals is maintaining focus. By reading your goals every morning you not only maintain awareness of what they are, but you can ensure you are committing to the prescribed ‘behaviours’ each day, giving you the best chance of success.
- RE-EVALUATE YOUR GOALS REGULARLY – Don’t afraid to chop and change your goals as your life changes. If one of the goals you’ve written down doesn’t fit your life, remove it or change it as necessary.
- WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH ASK YOURSELF ‘WHY’ – When you’re working hard each day and it seems as if it’s all too hard, ask yourself why you set your goals in the first place. If your reason for wanting to achieve it is great enough, it should be all the motivation you need to keep going.
Now you have all the tools you need to effectively plan out a successful and prosperous 2016! Although this template works extremely well for me, there may be certain elements you wish to change to make it more applicable to yourself, and that’s fine. My hope is that this post simply makes setting and achieving your goals in the future just that little bit easier!
What do you think of this goal setting template? Do you have anything that you’d like to add or any tips of your own that you’d like to share? If so, feel free to comment below! If you liked this post go ahead and share it on your favourite social media channel!
Cheers and happy new year!
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