Many of us make a list of goals we want to accomplish as we kick off the new year. Some goals are personal; some are professional; and some are things we have been putting off forever.
As you look at that list now, months later, you may not have crossed off as many things as you’d hoped. Why is that? The answer is, frankly, because you didn’t set yourself up for success. That measly to-do list was not enough to motivate you. Keep reading to understand what you need to do differently and why you haven’t been successful in meeting your goals.
You Aren’t Making Them Actionable
Your list of goals should not look like your grocery list, full of random nouns. Make your goals actionable! Instead of listing “new job,” preface it with an action word: “Get a new job.” Then create urgency by setting a deadline for the goal and the tasks necessary to help you achieve it. If a new job is what you’re trying to find, spend an hour on LinkedIn every day, go to networking events, and update your résumé. These kinds of action items not only help you to map out your goal but give you a clear to-do list in order to accomplish it.
You Haven’t Defined Your Why
If you aren’t motivated to achieve your goals, you may not have defined the reason why you’re working toward them. For example, saying you want to lose 10 pounds is one thing, but why are you trying to lose the weight? Adversely, what are you trying to gain by losing it? Think of your motivation and purpose behind the goal. There’s always something that you want to receive or lose on the other end by achieving that goal. Are you trying to boost your self-confidence? Do you want to feel better and live a healthier life? I urge you to think about the why as you make your goal list and understand the benefits of what you’re trying to accomplish.
You Haven’t Established Milestones
If your goal is a lofty one, it could take a while before you accomplish it. Having milestones or markers that track your progress will provide you with measurable points to determine how well you are doing. When you can see that you’ve accomplished part of your goal you can celebrate your progress and encourage yourself to continue. Work at a steady pace and don’t try to do too much upfront. Burnout is real, and you want to avoid it at all costs.
You Didn’t Build Systems to Help You
Things are often easier said than done, which is where systems come into play. If you’re trying to achieve a big goal, you need to set up a system that allows you to work toward its completion, whether that’s scheduling a time each day to devote to your goal or allocating a full day or large block of time to invest in it. However, it is just not about timing. If my goal was to get my house organized–every room, drawer, and closet–I would make a plan for which order would be best for cleaning the house while also setting rules to prevent new clutter from forming. Your system is your game plan and the overarching guide you should refer to when approaching your goal.
You Haven’t Run the Numbers
All goals aren’t monetary like saving a certain amount saved each month, but there is some type of financial component to every goal. Let’s say your goal is to buy a house. Clearly there is a monetary aspect that goes into achieving it, such as how much you need to save, determining your price point and mortgage, etc. But what if the goal is to look for a new job? Then you should determine your salary requirements prior to looking. If the goal is to eat healthier, you need to take into account that fruits and vegetables cost more than junk food and understand the full financial implications of your goal. The numbers never lie and will give you a clear picture of how to achieve your goal. Pay attention to them!
If you haven’t made progress toward goals you set earlier this year, don’t give up. Use these tips to refocus and strategize, and in turn, help yourself meet your goals. I know you can do it!