You Can Still Reach your 2016 Goals!
When January arrives, a lot of us are full of hope and inspiration. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions and set goals that we hope to achieve in the coming year. Even if you do not set formal resolutions for yourself, you probably made some goals that you hoped to achieve this year. I certainly did, and to be honest, I have dropped the ball on a few of them.
Now that 2016 is approaching its end, it’s often a good idea to look back at the goals that you set for yourself and to take some time to review your progress. This holds true for both personal and professional goals.
Some people avoid doing this self-reflection because they know that they haven’t hit their goals and they’d rather forget that they even set them to begin with. Often I ask myself, ‘did I really commit to doing that much?’ Life has a way of getting the way of our best-laid plans. However, hiding your head in the sand and waiting for next year isn’t the best strategy. This isn’t productive and it doesn’t help you reach your objectives. Besides, even if you know you haven’t reached your 2016 goals, there’s still time to achieve something towards your goal.
Here are a few tips that can help you end this year on a high note.
- Start Small
- Looking at a large list of goals (or one or two very large or complicated goals) can seem overwhelming. This can cause you to freeze in place and believe that it’s easier to do nothing than to try to accomplish something that seems large or complex.
- The trick is to get started! Once you start, you’ll be much more likely to continue. The best way to get moving is to start small.
- Pick a small task and try to accomplish that one. For example, if your goal was finding a new job, start by re-writing your resume. If that goal seems overwhelming, start with just one section, such as “work experience.” Achieving something small will motivate you to keep going.
- Identify What You Have Accomplished
- It’s easy to get discouraged when you think you’ve accomplished nothing all year. This can demotivate you and prevent you from moving forward. In order to be inspired and re-focus on your goals, think about what you have already achieved this year.
- Maybe you didn’t manage to wake up earlier each morning and go for a run before work, but you did manage to get more sleep. Maybe, you also got better at returning phone calls and emails in a timely manner. These are all positives. Write down everything that you achieved this year and soon you’ll find that accomplishing the rest doesn’t seem so daunting.
- Review your Goals
- If you didn’t accomplish your goals this year, think about why not. Maybe it’s because you didn’t have time or because you didn’t feel motivated, but it could also be because your goals were too abstract or simply the wrong goals for your current situation. Perhaps situations changed that presented more obstacles to meeting your goals.
- Take a look at what you wanted to accomplish this year and see if these goals are still relevant. Remember that you’re much more likely to stick with a goal if you’ve set a concrete objective. For example, saying “I want to earn more money” doesn’t give you anything concrete to aim for. Do you want to earn more money at your current job? Do you want a promotion? Are you hoping to switch careers? How much money is “more?”
- Setting a specific goal such as “I want to be promoted to Director” is much more concrete and, therefore, you are more likely to be successful.
- Figure Out What Happened
- When it comes to your goals, it’s a good idea to sit down and think about why you haven’t achieved them yet this year. For instance, using the example above, if your goal was that you wanted to be promoted to Director in your department, why didn’t you reach that goal? Did the company hire someone else for the job? Are you lacking the specific experience and skills needed to get that promotion?
- Once you know why you didn’t reach your goals, you can take steps to help push yourself in the right direction.
- Sometimes achieving goals will be out of your control. If you wanted a promotion and your organization didn’t promote anyone in the last year, that may not be because you aren’t a good candidate for promotion, it may have to do with budget constraints or other circumstances. In this case, you’ll have to take the time to figure out why this happened and what it will mean for you going forward. You may need to adjust your goal to gain the skills and experience required to be a successful Director. That way, you can still take steps towards your goal, even if the opportunity for promotion isn’t immediately available.
Remember that it’s never too late to set goals. While many people wait until the beginning of the year, that doesn’t mean that you have to postpone everything until 2017. Why not start now? We still have over 6 weeks left to make progress towards our goals this year. Think of where you want to be at this time next year and then plot a path that will help you get there. This way when the New Year arrives, you will already well on your way to achieving your goals.