There are 100s of quality books written on setting and achieving your goals. But which one should you read? Should you read them all? Goal setting is a very personal thing and requires energy and effort and many of the books out there can help you write good goals, but NONE of them will help you achieve your goals. That is up to you. But there is one piece of the goal building puzzle that will allow you to achieve your goals almost every time. Let me show you how.
With the end of the year fast approaching, you are likely to see 100s of articles on New Year’s resolutions, setting goals, and how to do it. From SMART goals to SMARTER goals, one-minute goals to 4DX, there is a long list of books and methods for approaching goals. If you don’t have time to read these books and discover the best way for you to approach your goals, here is a summary of what they all are saying.
Great Goal Creation Made Simple
Some methods have 5 key points, some have 4 steps to achieve your goals, and still others have a 7-step process. None of this really matters if you want the Cliff Notes version. Although each of the linked methods above is valuable, they all point to the few ingredients listed below.
- Be detailed and specific. You need to know exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
- Create measuring points to help you know you where you are and where you want to go. These measuring points will help to keep you on track and on target. It is best to have a visual representation of this for reference and motivation.
- Build urgency into your goals. Every goal and even the small steps of the goal need to have a time-bound or due date element to them.
- Involve other people. You need accountability to achieve your goals. Nobody accomplishes things in a vacuum.
- Make a goal that will get you results. This is why knowing exactly what you want and measuring it well is so important. You can get results but if they don’t lead you to where you want to go it is a waste.
If you take a look at any of the goal setting formulas from books, articles, and magazines they all point to these five things. Here’s an even shorter version. When you set goals for New Year’s, your business, or any other reason follow this list. If you must have an acronym, you can use SMART with a bit of a twist from the traditional definition.
- S) Have an exact and specific target to achieve.
- M) Measure your progress and make a visual of it.
- A) Create accountability around your goals.
- R) Focus on achieving the results you want.
- T) Build a time element into every step.
Avoid these Common Mistakes of Goal Making
Before we dive into accountability, make sure you avoid these common mistakes with goals. If you do fall into these traps, you may lose progress or motivation, or worse give up. You may have all the momentum and excitement to tackle your goals but then you don’t finish what you started when any one of these common mistakes get in your way. Avoid these 5 common mistakes when you are making and pursuing your goals.
Don’t create unclear goals. When the goals are not specific you create confusion for what you are trying to accomplish. Stick with the S on the list above.
Don’t try to do too many goals. Start simply with 1-3 goals and that’s it. The bigger the goal the less you set.
Don’t be negative. Bumps in the road will come and that is okay, keep pursuing. Make sure you don’t surround yourself with others that are negative toward your goals.
Don’t get distracted. There are thousands of distractions in our lives, find time to dedicate to your goals so you don’t get distracted.
Don’t quit creating goals. You won’t accomplish every goal you set for next year or any other time, but that’s okay. Just don’t stop creating and pursuing.
Finally, Don’t do it alone. Support and accountability are vital to finishing what you start. Surround yourself with people who care about what you are trying to accomplish. More on accountability next.
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Use Accountability to Actually Finish What You Start
Every step of the goal creation process listed above is important to create a great goal. Every step is helpful to motivate, measure, and clarify your plan, but the one step that is your secret ingredient for finishing what you start is the accountability step.
The best-laid plans are worthless if they are not followed. A great goal is almost impossible to finish when we hit roadblocks, have to redirect, or get frustrated. But when surround ourselves with accountability, finishing becomes a real possibility. The problem with accountability is people are unreliable. That’s okay, let’s talk about how to overcome this with some twists to creating accountability. I write about this in How To Accomplish Your Goals In 3 Surprisingly Simple Ways, but for our purposes here is a simple list on creating accountability.
- Write your goal down and post the written plan somewhere you will see it every day (on your phone, your desk at work, the fridge, a bathroom mirror, whatever works for you).
- Start casually telling people about your goal. I have told countless people I am writing a book and plan to publish. Now my integrity is coming into play, motivating me to finish.
- Work on your goal every day until you finish, even if it is only for 30-seconds!
- Find a friend that will ask you about your goal and keep asking and encouraging you to finish. Have them help you with it so they have some commitment to it as well.
- Spend some money on the goal. When we do this, a new level of emotional connection occurs.
Of course, you can come up with your own unique ways to create accountability, but these suggestions can be a great starting point.
Imagine What You Can Accomplish Next Year
When you follow the simple ingredients in the SMART list above and put great effort and focus on accountability, you can be sure next year will be one of your best years ever. Let’s review to make sure we can make it happen.
Goal-setting is a simple and relatively easy thing to do. Goal achieving is much more challenging. To make next year your best year for achieving your goals be specific, create measuring points, focus on getting the results you want, create urgency to each step of the goal, and most importantly, create a ton of accountability surrounding your goals.
Now here is the challenge. Take time this week to work through the ingredients listed above and create 1-3 great goals for next year. Then do everything you can to create amazing accountability surrounding these goals so you’re sure to achieve them!
What’s your first goal for the new year?