Many people, myself included, could agree that 2020 was a whirlwind of a year. It’s like we were on a constant up-and-down roller coaster with the presidential election, murders, protests, and overall chaos that happened throughout the year. After having our hearts jerked around so much last year, many have vowed to make 2021 their most prosperous year yet. But what’s the difference between 2021 and before?!?
Every year, as the new year starts to roll in, everyone’s minds begin to wander and consider all of the possible New Year’s Resolutions they can put together to have a better year in the upcoming months. The problem is that a few months into the year, many people start slacking on the resolutions and goals they’ve set for the year. There could be many reasons why, but a common cause is simply lack of planning.
The Importance of Goal Setting
If you Google the keyword “goal setting,” you can easily find over 3,500,000 related web pages, books, and other resources that provide various tools and processes to help set goals. As many tools as there are available, one would expect everyone to set goals, but that’s not the case.
You may be wondering why people still struggle with the concept of goal setting, and that’s understandable. Although I could fill a book with a host of reasons why the reality is that some people don’t take time to sit down and write out their goals for the year with an action plan because they didn’t achieve the ones they’d set in the past. Some of us have gotten so comfortable with the bad habit of “winging-it” that we think that we can just go through the year, blindly chasing after our goals without taking the time to visualize and plan out the steps we’d take to accomplish our goals.
As the old saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Visualizing your goals and writing them down are essential steps in the goal planning process that allow you to state your intention and set things in motion.
If you write down your goals and put them in a prominent place where you can see them often, your subconscious and conscious minds will begin asking questions and coming up with answers, and you will find you have already started to take steps to achieve your goal.
5 Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing What Goals to Pursue
If you’ve developed the habit of setting goals for yourself, great — but we often encounter a new challenge when we start choosing too many targets. You can filter through the stars and find out which ones to aim for with these five tips:
- Consider the biggest picture possible. You may want to explore your values, personality, and wants in a little reflection and journaling. Put pen to paper, and write down what you want more than anything else in life. Try making a list of the ten most important values for you. Keep it short and sweet, in a sentence or two — no more. The clearer you see the big picture, the easier it will be to find goals that matter.
- Budget your expenses and compromise accordingly. When setting goals, it is vital to think about the constraints you face and be realistic. Saving up a million dollars in one year is probably not feasible for someone holding down a nine-to-five job within the median salary range. Put off that goal or put it on the back burner until later, and instead, just save up a few thousand dollars. Aside from money, there are also physical limitations to consider, leading us to the next point:
- Keep your health in mind. If you have a goal related to your work, say, hitting six figures or something similar, and your doctor has also told you that your health is in trouble, it may be time to refocus on your health-related goals. It may not be as essential to squeeze in extra work each week as it is to take a walk every day for thirty minutes. The latter may drive you to a point where neither of your goals is attainable if you don’t choose the former.
- Be aware of those around you. People who are dependent upon you, such as their family or colleagues, may need you to give up some personal goals for their needs. As an example, if you wish to be a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, but your kids are struggling in school, you may want to set aside your desire to be Jackie Chan and give them some extra help with their homework.
- Plan further down the road. There should be a number of attainable goals ranging from daily to yearly, ten-yearly to thirty-year attainable. Goals can always be refined and changed as time goes on and situations change.
Making goals and achieving them helps you to build a stronger character. It’s always good to remember that both positive and negative thoughts cannot exist concurrently in our brains. You can eradicate negative thought patterns by staying positive and not giving up.
Even if obstacles arise in the way of your plans, do not give up. Instead of focusing on the problem, find a solution – use a positive response. Thinking about solutions enables you to put your brain to work, to find ways around problems. If you choose to see an obstacle as just that: a problem, and accept that you have been dealt a blow by life, and let that stop you and prevent you from learning and growing, then you will never be able to grow or learn.
You have to fall over a few times before you can walk. By concentrating on your long-term success, your problem-solving skills will be improved, and it will be easier to overcome your problems.