With the frivolity (and stress) of the holidays behind us, it’s time to get back to work. But before jumping into business-as-usual routines, take a moment to think about what you want to accomplish over the next year. No, I’m not referring to the New Year’s resolutions people make at the start of a new calendar year. (I’ve given up on those for myself, because I rarely stick to them beyond the first week of January!) I’m talking about establishing hardcore goals and objectives that can serve as guides for future action throughout 2017.
How is a resolution different from a goal? A New Year’s resolution is a promise someone makes at the beginning of a year to do (or not do) something during the coming year. For many people, these resolutions typically revolve around behaviors such as eating better, getting more sleep, exercising more, and other “good for you” activities. A goal, on the other hand, is (according to Merriam-Webster online) “the end point toward which effort is redirected.” In other words, a resolution is something you do, and a goal is what you want to achieve.
Just wanting to achieve a goal isn’t going to make it happen, though.
What’s the secret to accomplishing goals, including those that are complicated and take months (or even years!) to accomplish?
In a word: PLANNING.
In order to turn a goal into reality, you need a plan. After all, as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Oddly enough, most of us already know about the importance of having a plan. (Raise your hand if your office engages in long-term strategic planning!) But in both our professional lives and our personal lives we often get so caught up in day-to-day matters that we find it challenging to work on projects that don’t have immediate deadlines.
Take a moment to reflect on the last few weeks. During that period, did you at any time think about what you’d accomplished throughout 2016 and if it was enough? Were those accomplishments what you had actually hoped to achieve? If you can honestly answer “yes” to both of those questions, please share your secrets in the comment section below!
But if you find yourself wondering where last year went and why you accomplished nothing on your big “hit list,” commit now to thinking big in 2017, and resolve to spend time this month putting together your plan. Decide on three big goals for the year (more than three can be overwhelming and unachievable), then head over to an earlier post, which has suggestions for how to set yourself up for success and stay accountable to yourself for the next 30 days.
External accountability can be a huge motivator, too! So feel free to share your goals with me by e-mail, and I’ll check in with you at three-, six- and nine-month intervals to see how you’re doing. And because I could use some accountability too, I’ll share updates on my own three big goals for 2017 (get back into voiceover work, roll out online classes, and write a fiction book).
There’s no reason any of us have to do this alone. So let’s get out there and make big things happen together this year!
I wish each of you all the best for 2017! Val Grubb