The chance to start fresh with a clean blank slate is always exciting to me. Yet oftentimes I can become overwhelmed at the thought of making the most of a new beginning because I’m not quite sure where to start. Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year – an opportunity to begin again, to start afresh.
Goal setting is popular this time of year, but many resolutions are forgotten months or even weeks after the New Year. The reason why so many New Year’s resolutions fail isn’t typically because of lack of motivation; it’s because of ineffective goal setting. Forbes Magazine states “many people want to inspire themselves to become better but don’t for two reasons: they don’t know what to do and they don’t know how to do it.” Goal setting isn’t for the faint of heart – it takes a perspective shift, careful thought, and a lot of follow-though.
Below I've listed a few steps to creating a goal-setting plan for 2016. Don’t let New Year’s pass before you take some time to prepare for your next fresh start.
1. Think about where you’ve been
To begin, start by remembering all the positive things that happened in 2015. Think about where you’ve come and what you’ve achieved. Start from a place of thankfulness rather than discontentment. By remembering the good, you stir up hope for what this next year will bring rather than dread. Good things are ahead! Sometimes all you need is to look back for a little confirmation.
2. Think about where you want to go
Try thinking about what you want to be feeling or remembering this time next year. Allow yourself to dream a little. What could 2016 look like for you? Oftentimes I’ll take a blank sheet of paper and simply list out every possibility that’s been rolling around in my head. No matter how big or small the thought is, write it down, and then think about which of those things you can accomplish or make movement toward this next year. Simply allowing yourself to visualize your dreams moving forward in the next year often gives you the courage to take the first step.
3. Identify some areas in your life you want to improve
Once you’ve thought about what 2016 could look like, take some time to list some of the areas in your life that need improvement. Maybe you want to improve your health or enhance your resume by getting some more experience. Whatever the case, take time to list 3-8 things you want to improve this year. I’ve found that if I list more than that, I become easily overwhelmed and don’t end up achieving the goals I set in the first place.
4. Talk about how you’re going to do that, i.e. what’s your strategy?
Now it’s time to get practical. Unless you take the time to think about how you’re going to get to where you want to be by the end of 2016, you’re probably not going anywhere. Start by identifying the first thing that would have to happen in order to see movement in the areas of improvement you identified in the last step. If you selected improve your health, the first thing for you may be getting a gym membership or purchasing running shoes. From there you can start to list the next steps, no matter how simple they may sound. The more practical, the better.
5. Identify who/what can help you get there
Oftentimes it’s helpful for me to identify people that have experience in the areas of improvement I’ve listed or some sort of resource to help me along the way. Somehow it makes the goal seem more attainable when I look to people who have gone before me. Do your research and find people to keep you motivated and educated as you seek to make progress this year.
6. Develop a check-in system
Lastly, develop a check-in system for yourself to help track your progress. When I set my goals for the year, I also select a few times throughout the year I can spend a few hours looking at my goals again and see where I need to pick up the pace or make changes in order to meet them. Taking time to review your goals is vital to moving forward; it helps you keep the end in sight!
I hope you feel inspired to enter into 2016 prepared and ready to take advantage of this fresh start! Let's make the most of it! Happy New Year everyone!