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Grooming: Setting achievable goals for the year

The goals we set that we have accomplished and the ones we did not even attempt or the ones we attempted and failed.  For others this review may be depressing because most goals were not accomplished whilst for others it is a cause for celebration because they managed to achieve a majority of their goals.  However you would describe 2010, a success or failure, 2011 is around the corner and you need to plan for it.  As the old adage goes, by failing to plan one must plan to fail.

During the course of 2010 I changed my goal setting technique because the one I used previously left me feeling demoralised and disheartened.  I took a look at the goals I had set and found that they were mainly long-term and vague so there was nothing for me to check off as being accomplished as accomplishing anything would take years meaning that in the meanwhile I would not be achieving anything.  I decided to take the bigger goal and break it down into short-term goals and then into goals ones I can complete daily.  Knowing that you have achieved a target you set out for yourself, regardless of how small it is can be satisfying and energizing. 

In the book Success Principles, the author Jack Canfield speaks about how people believe that we are entitled to a fabulous life and someone else is supposed to make it happen for us, the great relationships, exciting career options and happiness. He goes on to say “if you want to be successful, you have to take 100% responsibility for everything that you experience in your life.  This includes the level of your achievements, the results you produce, the quality of your relationships, the state of your health and physical fitness, your income, your debts, your feelings-everything”.   So that is a start.  Take responsibility.

Now onto setting your goals or making resolutions, I have a few tips from laymen. A quick definition from the Collins’ New English Dictionary, a resolution is a decision to do something and a goal is an aim or purpose. 
Here is something to bear in mind when setting your goals for 2011:
Use the SMART technique. Your goals need to be:
1.    SPECIFIC.  Vague goals are more difficult to attain because where to begin is not clear so become overwhelmed from the onset. They also need to be tight so you know whether you have achieved it or not. For instance, I want to lose weight this year. Stating the amount of kilograms you intend on shedding is more specific, giving it a timeframe in which to lose weight by is more specific.  At the end of the said timeframe you can measure yourself and see whether you have realised your goal or not.
2.    MEASURABLE.  You need to be able to measure how much of your goal you have achieved and how much more is yet to be accomplished. An example would be if you wanted to make more friends in the coming year you would plan to attend at least four social events a month and walk away with at least the contact details of one person a month. If you can not measure progress you will soon become discouraged.
3.    ACHIEVABLE. You need to set yourself up for success instead of failure.  I have been trying to gain weight which is actually a struggle for me given my high metabolism. Trying to gain 15kgs in a year would not be achievable because to date I have never been that weight before.  I went to a nutritionist who gave me an eating plan and told me the amount of weight I could realistically gain in a month. So if I do not notice any instant changes it is alright with me because I am aware the process is slow.  In the meantime I will just focus on sticking to the eating plan.
4.    REALISTIC.   We have heard it said “you can become anything you put your mind to”.  Whilst this is true we need to bear in mind that “put your mind to” is the operative phrase.  Good examples of this are the people you see auditioning on the “Idols” show on television.  In order to become an “Idol” one needs to at least possess some talent than can be worked with.  Failing that one would have to work extremely hard to learn how to sing.  I once wanted to play the violin but with everything else going on in my life during high school I just did not have the time to work on playing the violin so I came to the realisation that I was not going to become a violinist.
5.    TIMEFRAMED.  Someday never comes.  Set a date by which you must have achieved your goal so that there is a sense of urgency and so you are driven to do something today.  To desire to drive a car one day is not good enough.  You will find ten years will go by and the desire will still be just that, a desire.
Other things to bear in mind when setting your goals for the New Year:
1.    Write down your resolutions.  Merely thinking them will not suffice.  Write it down so it constantly before you.
2.    Plan in terms of short-term (monthly), medium (quarterly) and long-term (by the end of the year).
3.    Do not limit yourself but do not forget to keep it realistic others you will only be setting yourself up to fail.
4.    Put people into the equation.  Your relationships at most times will determine your success.
(a)    Make it a point to cultivate relationships and to meet new people.   Relationships always serve to inspire and motivate you.
(b)    Create time for mentors, those who are farther along the same path as you will help you crystallize your plans.
5.    Plan to rest.  You will need to refresh your mind and body during the course of the year.



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