The last two years I’ve pulled out my notepad and sat down to make a plan for my dreams and set some big goals. Since creating this little habit I’ve felt less adrift in the world as now my hard work is actually focused on getting me somewhere I see worthwhile instead of my efforts sending me around in circles.
With the start of another year already here and many people wanting to put 2020 behind them, I want to share some tips on how to set goals to start getting you closer to the dream life you want and deserve.
Let’s dream big! Take some time to think about what your dream life would look like. Don’t get caught up in writing goals at this stage and don’t worry about money or time or anything else that might stop you, simply dream about where you want to be in your future.
Take a few minutes to sit down and simply dream about where you want to be in your future. Write down what you want your life to look like in 5 years time and 10 years time.
Now that you have worked out what you want in your dream life, it’s time to work out what steps to take to get there. These little steps to get you closer to your dream life are goals. Anyone can set goals, but to set achievable goals that won’t overwhelm you, you need to set SMART goals.
Specific – The more detail you include in your goal the more likely you are to achieve it. If you have vague goals you may start to forget what you are actually trying to accomplish. By writing your goal and outlining the ‘who, where, when, why and what’ you will be crystal clear on what you want to achieve. For example, instead of having a goal like ‘read more books’, your goal could be ‘read 5 pages of a book every night before bed’.
Measurable – Your goal needs to be measured in some way so that you can track your progress, stay motivated, and know when you have achieved your goal. When writing your goal consider using numbers to outline ‘how much’ or ‘how many’, for instance a goal could be to ‘go for a 20 minute walk every day’ – how much = 20 minutes, how many = every day.
Achievable - If you have a big ambitious goal like paying your mortgage off within a year this is likely not to happen unless you win the lotto! Being more realistic and setting goals such as reducing debt, making extra contributions and doing the maths to work out an achievable timeframe will help keep things real. Setting unachievable goals will only set yourself up for disappointment when you don’t get the outcome you want.
Realistic -Not only do your goals need to be achievable but they also need to be realistic and consider your practical circumstances. Writing a book in a year might be a great goal but if you’re a parent, and work full time, be realistic when would you have time to reach this goal? A more realistic goal may be to write 1000 words a week or maybe even just 200 words a day.
Time-bound – Including a due date for your goal will make it a priority and can also motivate you to complete your task by the deadline.
Some extra tips for when writing your goals:
- State each goal as a positive statement, for example a goal like ‘exercise and diet to lose weight’ could be better written as ‘create healthy habits with exercise and diet’.
- When you have more than one goal put them in a priority order. This will help you focus on what is most important to you and stop you from feeling overwhelmed by having too many goals. Be careful not to have too many big goals as you will feel overwhelmed.
- Break big goals down into more manageable bites – if a goal is too big you will loss motivation as it won’t feel like you’re making any progress.
- Goals should be set on things that you can control. It can be disappointing if you don’t reach a goal for reasons beyond your control.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach your goal. Instead look at the reasons why you didn’t get there and rewrite your goal and try again.
Create a Vision Board and Reminders
Dream planning and setting goals won’t magically give you the dream life you want. You need to do something small each day to get you a bit closer to your goal. Creating a vision board and little reminders are great ways to motivate you each day to keep going.