How often have you, like me, made new year resolutions, quickly broken them and felt discouraged? Let me give some tips about goal setting which may help you to reach (or at least progress towards) more of your dreams in 2020.

I have not been good, historically, at goal setting. Part of the reason is my personality. I like things kept flexible and have never been very good at planning ahead. Often, when I did set goals, these were hugely over-ambitious and unattainable, or too vague to even know if I’d accomplished them or not!

However, in recent years, I have understood the importance of setting goals and have become better at it (there is hope for everyone!) Here are a few things I have learnt.

Benjamin Franklin is noted as having said ” If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Having a plan and setting goals gives you a vision and focus and helps you become intentional about achieving it. It gives you something to deliberately work towards, keeping you motivated. It means you make a commitment and take action.

Having said that, though, there is some wisdom needed in the planning. Your goal need to be SMART!

Specific and Measurable – not vague and wishy washy. How will you know, otherwise, if you have achieved it or not? Give yourself something clear to work towards.

Achievable – a big dream can seem overwhelming, so work towards it in small, achievable steps. Perhaps try working backwards in deciding what would need to be in place for the dream to be recognised, then gradually start to implement these steps in order, from the beginning.

Be Realistic in this. Eg what are your priorities and what other commitments do you already have? Agreeing to do something means that you will need to stop or reduce time spent doing something else. Don’t set too many goals at once – 5 or 6 max or perhaps even just 1, especially if it’s a big goal.

Try giving your goal a score out of 10 as to how likely you are to achieve it? How much do you really want it? What are you prepared to give up? If the score is less than 7, you probably won’t do it! Is there anything you could put in place that would bring that number higher?

Thrilling! If it isn’t something that excites you, you won’t do it! (Eg is this your dream or someone else’s?!)

Alright, I know, that should read Time-bound! Setting a time frame helps keep you focussed and on track. Why not put it in your diary? But be prepared to be flexible with this. Sometimes things take longer (or shorter) than you anticipated, and that’s ok.

Remember, a dream without a plan remains just a day dream. Even if you need to adjust your plan along the way and set some new goals, you will have made a start. A moving ship is easier to steer than one anchored in the harbour! So, what are your goals this year?

(Image courtesy of Alvaro Mandesa, via Unsplash)