In many parts of the country, the leaves are changing, people are heading to the pumpkin patch, and the apple cider is flowing – fall is here! And it might feel a little early to be setting goals for the new year.
But did you know October is the perfect time to get your goals in order for the year ahead?
Because of the busy holiday season, November and December are often here and gone before you know it. If you wait until January, you likely won’t get to work on your goals in a meaningful way until late January or even early February. It can feel like you’re already behind – and that’s no way to begin a new year!
Why not get started on your goals for the new year right now? Here are five of my favorite tips to get you started.
Write down your goals.
Start by setting aside some intentional time to sit down with a pen and paper, your favorite note-taking app, or your laptop, and write them down. You’re 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.
For each goal you’re considering, make sure you know why it’s important to you.
If you want to reach a new goal, it helps to get clear on the why behind it. Take some time to think through what it would mean to you if you accomplished your goal. In those moments when we’re all tempted to backslide or take the easy way out, you’ll be glad you zeroed in on the reasons behind all the effort. It will be that much easier to stay focused!
As an example, let’s say my goal is to schedule at least two networking activities each month. But why is that important? In my new role as a director, I’m tasked with bringing innovative ideas to the table, and networking with industry professionals will help me gain insight into market trends and best practices.
Set CLEAR goals.
You’ve probably heard of SMART goals (an acronym for goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timebound). These days, there are new modes for setting goals that embrace the new advances in life, business, and how they intersect. One of my favorite goal-setting methods is called CLEAR goals.
CLEAR goals are:
- Collaborative. Where appropriate, collaborative goals are powerful for businesses. They encourage you to work together in teams, pooling your knowledge and learning from one another while accomplishing your goals.
- Limited. Your goals should be limited in both scope and the length of time you’re measuring.
- Emotional. Do your goals tap into your energy and passion?
- Appreciable. Break your large goal down into smaller goals and get motivated by quick wins.
- Refinable. Set your goal with a concrete objective in mind, but also with the understanding that sometimes life unfolds in unexpected ways. As new information becomes clear along the way, understand that it’s sometimes necessary to refine your goal.
Keep in mind the different categories of goals.
To get you started, I’ll share some of thought leader Jack Canfield’s recommended goal categories along with some examples of my own. Do these spark inspiration? Write down anything that comes to mind, and work on making your goals CLEAR.
- Financial. Pay off your credit card this year, or save up enough for a down payment on a home
- Career/Business. Update your resume. Ask for that promotion.
- Free Time/Family Time. Have dinner with the family at least three times each week. Get up early enough each morning to have coffee and reflect before the day begins.
- Health/Appearance. Go for a run twice each week for at least 20 minutes. Sign up for a new exercise class.
- Relationship Goals. Call your mother each week. Attend one singles event each month.
- Personal Growth. Meditate at least once each week. Attend a personal development seminar.
- Making a Difference. Sign up to teach Sunday school. Identify a new charity you can donate to.
Don’t forget that one important breakthrough goal.
When you’re setting goals, it’s important to include at least one goal that seems a little less than possible, that you’ll have to grow and change in order to achieve. You might decide to run a marathon, publish a book, or start a business. Only you know what will force you to step outside your comfort zone.
Next year will be here sooner than any of us realize, so be prepared to take action on your goals and breakthroughs as soon as January 1st arrives.