Happy New Year!
It is a new year. A time to take stock of what we accomplished in 2015 and decide what our goal or goals are for 2016. I suggest to you that by doing this you have the opportunity to create a plan for the new year that can really make changes – the kind of changes that can change your life.
It is hard to know where you are going if you do not know where you’ve been. Today is a great time to reflect back on what you achieved last year and what you did not. What worked for you? What did not work? Did you set goals last year? Did you achieve them? Why or why not?
If you kept a journal last year it would be instructive to read it over today and learn what worked and what did not. We can learn a lot about ourselves from this exercise.
Goals for 2016 – Concise, Clear, Specific, Measurable and Time Bound
I am not referring here to the traditional New Year’s Resolutions. These resolutions tend to be vague promises to ourselves about what we are going to do and not do in the coming year and all too often they are forgotten before the new year is but a month or two old.
Rather than vague goals like I will lose weight, I will exercise more, I will drink less, I will make more money, I will spend less… wouldn’t it be better to define clear goals that are time bound and measurable? It is far better to have clarity and specificity in your goal, as well as making it time bound.
“I will lose 20 lbs. in four months” or “I will lose 20 lbs. by May 1” are far better goals than just saying you will be fit or lose weight. They are better because:
- They are clear and specific – you will lose 20 lbs.
- They are time bound – you will lose the weight by a time certain.
- They are measurable – you know what progress you are making as you go by weighing yourself and you know when you have achieved your goal.
Another advantage of a clear and concise goal like this is that you can easily memorize it. It is important, in fact critical, that you write it down and very useful that you refer to its written form often. But in this simple and clear form you can easily remember it and remind yourself what your goal is any time and anywhere.
The Power of a Written Goals
It has been proven that written goals are more often achieved than unwritten ones. (You can read about why this is in my book Goal Power!)
Suffice to say that studies have shown that written goals are more effective than unwritten ones. They are not forgotten. Perhaps more importantly though the act of writing them and reading them reinforces a goal in the mind more than one can with an unwritten goal.
How Many Goals Should I Have?
Wouldn’t it be better to identify a primary goal that you can seriously pursue? A goal that you can devote your energy to and focus on? I have discovered through years of experience working with goals that the fewer of them you have the more success you will have with your goal or goals.
We all have only so many hours in a day and so many days in a week. We all have competing needs and activities that must be attended to in those hours and days. There is only so much time available to devote to pursuing a goal seriously. Therefore the fewer goals you have the more progress you can make on them.
Ideally you should have one, single goal. It should be the center of your focus and activity. By doing that you will make the most progress on that goal.
You can have as many as two or even three goals, but beyond that you will dilute your energy and effort so much that you many not make sufficient progress on any one goal to achieve it.
I usually select just two goals every January. One health goal and one business goal. I then focus my energy and effort on those two goals. Since I’ve adopted that system I’ve made much more progress on my goals.
No matter what you want to achieve in 2016 if you spell it out in a clear, concise, measurable and time bound goal you are far more likely to succeed with that goal. I invite you to try this method this year. Set your one or two goals and pursue them relentlessly. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
Learn how to formulate goals correctly to gain control over your life and achieve your dreams in my book, Goal Power!
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.