I will run 5 miles every morning…
I will learn French…
I will travel around the world…
New Year’s Eve is the birthday of so many resolutions that peter out and turn into smoke in a week or a month. The most daring promises do not last even a day.
Don’t you wish you could plan the next year and actually stick with your resolutions for once? Don’t you want to achieve those ambitious goals?
If you do, I invite you on a journey towards setting the right goals that will take you through the year towards your biggest dreams. First, let’s talk about different types of goals.
Three Types of Goals You Need to Set
When you think about goals, you usually imagine the things you wish to possess. Buying a car, renting a better place, or going on a round-the-world adventure. All fall under this category. These are straightforward goals and the least effective when it comes to changing your life. Even if you make your plans super-specific, the world has a wicked sense of humor and can bring much chaos into your life along with the possessions you covet.
It’s fine to have a few goals at the possession level. Just don’t set more than five per year, if they are large-scale.
Behavioral goals take us to the next level and return faster results. They deal with the changes you want to see in your everyday actions that can bring you closer to the life you want. Eating healthy, visiting a therapist, or attending networking meetups fall under this category. You can choose any behavior you want to add to your life, but keep in mind these goals are harder to achieve because they require repetition and regularity. We’ll talk about making them easier in the next section.
Behavioral goals drive long-term changes in your life. They require more energy and dedication on your part, so limit their number to three or four per year.
Identity goals sit at the top of the pyramid. They deal with who or what you want to become within the next twelve months. You might wish to become a marathon winner, a startup founder, an Instagram influencer, a happily married person. If you think about it, identity goals incorporate behavioral and possession ones.
If you set out to become a YouTube blogger, you will need to gain new skills by changing your behavior. In the long run, you will start making money. You will be able to buy professional equipment or make it your primary source of income.
Identity goals influence most aspects of your life, so pace yourself. Do not try to achieve more than one or two goals at this level in a year, or you risk burning yourself out.
If you follow my suggestions, you should have a list of ten goals for the next year. Now let’s talk about how to fulfill them without giving up on January 1st.
Three Ways to Stay on Track Throughout the Year
Tie the Goals to Your Core Values
Have you ever heard of following others’ dreams? That’s what many of us do without realizing it, and that’s why so many of our plans fall through. To avoid this mistake, connect every goal you set to your core values. These can range from security, freedom, or power to money, health, family, and more.
If you notice your fundamental values include freedom, you are unlikely to achieve the goal of getting a corporate job. The contradiction between your presumed wishes and core values will prevent you from fulfilling the plan.
Rework or replace any goals on your list that do not coincide with your values, and your chances of achieving them will skyrocket. Besides, you will understand yourself a bit better. That’s always a plus.
Find the Right Tools and Resources to Help You
When you first think of running a marathon, the task seems impossible. You talk yourself out of a morning run every day, and never fulfill your dream of crossing the finish line. The problem is you do not have the right resources and tools to get there.
Whenever the goals feel unattainable, ask yourself: “What do I need to get it?” For my marathon example, the answer can include a new pair of running shoes, a wireless headset, a running buddy, or even a gym membership. All are very easy to get your hands on, and once you do, you will be one step closer to the goal and out of most of your excuses.
Knowledge and skills are among the most valuable resources, so don’t discount them. You need to practice to run a marathon, and you need guidance to build a startup. Right connections are also a valuable resource. For instance, you could type “Do my homework” into a chat window now, and our writers would get it off your hands, freeing up your time for achieving other goals.
Build Your System
There are dozens of approaches to “get things done”, but I’ve learned there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. I love the Pomodoro technique, but it drove me crazy until I found the right combination of work and rest periods. I won’t bore you with summaries of all the books on time-management I’ve read. Instead, I suggest you skim them, try them, and customize them until they feel like second nature.
When you feel wrong without using your system, you know you’ve found the holy grail of personal management. Incorporate it into your daily routine, weave your interim goals throughout, and watch the magic happen. Your goals will come within reach without much effort.
I hope my rambling advice made sense and helped you formulate better goals and find efficient ways of achieving them. Let me know what you think of this post and share your identity goals for next year!