To say that 2020 has been a turbulent year is an understatement, many of us are facing a restructuring of our lives. Whilst it is more than understandable that many of our aims and goals have fallen to the wayside, it is still possible to put a plan into place to achieve them. Here’s how.
Think about what you would like to achieve
It seems obvious, but the first step in reaching your goals is actually setting them. It is easy enough to dream about being millionaires by the time you are 40, but is it realistic? How can you actually get there? Setting unclear or unrealistic goals can be a fatal flaw in your plan. Further, you may even be setting goals for yourself that really, deep down, you don’t want to achieve. It is all well and good looking at other people’s successes and thinking ‘I want that too’, pushing yourself to achieve it only to find, you had other priorities unique to you all along. So take some time to think about your future, where would you like to be next year? In five years? In ten years?
Often lack of commitment and clarity cause people to fail to reach their goals so really think about what you would love to achieve and what you would regret not achieving. Slowly eke out which goals are the most important to you and why. The SMART goal-setting technique asks you to consider these qualities when setting goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
Be sure to also make sure the goal is truly important to, and desired by, you. Why would you like to achieve it? Why is it important? And how will it improve your life? Visualise yourself achieving it – how do you feel?
Set a time limit and create habits
Often when we set goals with a long deadline, it can be easy to think that we have all the time in the world to achieve them, only to find that that once distant deadline creeps up on us fast. Whilst some goals will take some time to execute, ensure you have a sustainable plan in place to achieve them. For example, if you would like to go on holiday next year, roughly estimate how much you need to save for how long. Figure out how much of your earnings you can feasibly put away each month, and set the deadline with all of this in consideration.
Setting a time limit for goals will help you achieve them, but also make sure that you set yourself up for success. Identify the ways in which you can regularly work towards your goal. Set regular reminders for yourself to work towards achieving that goal, or even set aside time every month or week to work towards your dream. Look into setting a schedule and creating regular habits that will allow you to frequently chip away at the task.
Break them down
Make a list of short-term goals and long-term goals. The long-term goals will often be ambitions or projects that are going to take some time and work to achieve. Make sure each of these goals are clear and well defined, and even measurable. And then set yourself smaller ‘targets’ to hit as you move towards the final deadline. If you would like to start your own business for example, that is a long-winded task, with multiple short-term targets to achieve in the meantime. Break the goal down into bitesize chunks and spread them out across your timeline in achievable milestones. Then even set smaller weekly or monthly to-do lists in order to reach those milestones, and reward yourself for hitting each one!
Take time to regularly review what you have done. If you feel like you may not reach your goal by the deadline you set, look at how you can adjust. If you are finding working towards your goal overwhelming, you may need to look at how you can make it easier. As you go along your journey, you may discover new techniques or information that you may want to incorporate into new action plans to help you reach your target more effectively or efficiently.
It may also be worth looking at which goals are still a priority, especially if you have created a five-year plan. As your life change so will your priorities, new ones may need to be included and old ones may not seem relevant any more. For example, you could have been working towards a promotion in your company, only to discover a love for another career path. Make time to adjust and reward yourself for how far you have come.