Happy New Year! This is one of the most hope-filled days of the year. We look at the first day of the year as a new beginning. We ponder what we did the previous year and anticipate what we’ll do differently, or better, in the upcoming year.
One of the things I want to do better this year is to concentrate my efforts on the things that get me to where I ultimately want to be. Basically, I want to narrow my focus. I can’t afford to get wrapped up in a lot of things. Time is such a precious commodity. Each of us gets 24 hours every day, but some people use those hours a lot better than the rest of us. My objective is to look at the things I did -especially as it relates to my professional goals- and see what worked and what didn’t. If it didn’t help me accomplish my goals or impact my target audience, then I have to stop it. I want to focus my energy on doing my BEST work, not “busy” work. Doing one thing well is much better and more effective than doing a lot of things mediocre.
So, as I’m streamlining my priorities for this year, I figured I’d share with you some strategies to facilitate this process.
1. Define your ultimate goal. What is it that you most want to accomplish? (Lose weight, start a business, rebuild an important relationship, etc.)
2. Identify the barriers to accomplishing your goal. What has stopped you in the past from getting this done? Negative people, poor eating habits, lack of physical activity, busy schedule, lack of finances?
3. Determine how can you overcome those barriers. What can you do differently? Make new friends, join a support group, change your schedule, switch jobs, get an additional job?
4. Break down your goals into achievable objectives. What can you do over the next 12 months to get closer to achieving your goal? Then, narrow down what you can do each month to hit your 12 month target. Next, determine what you can do this week to accomplish your monthly goal. Finally, scale back to what you can do today to help accomplish that weekly goal.
One of my favorite sayings I heard last year was “inch by inch anything is a cinch.” No matter how lofty your goal is you can do something small every day to get you one step closer to hitting that goal. Also, you will want to make sure you track your progress. You can do this daily, weekly or monthly. This will help you keep your target in mind and help get you back on track if you get off course.
5. Determine the consequence of not reaching that goal. What will happen if you don’t accomplish your goal? Will your health deteriorate? Will you remain in the unhappy state that you’re in – or even worse – become more unhappy? Will you lose material things (house, car, etc.)? When you remind yourself of what’s at stake if you don’t reach your goal it can be a huge motivator when you want to give up.
Finally, the most important thing is to make sure you have someone to keep you accountable. Accountability is one of the greatest contributors to success. If you have someone checking in on you asking about your progress it will inspire you to do what you said you would do. It also helps to know someone is supporting you. If someone else believes in you it will push you when you feel like you can’t do it. If you don’t have a specific person to keep you accountable, you may want to to start a blog. Lots of people have started blogs to gain accountability for goals like weight loss and participation in competitive sports events.
Having said that, I want to share with you one of my major goals for this year. One of the biggest things I want to do this year is participate in a triathlon. I have wanted to do this for years, but I’m so afraid because I can’t swim! Furthermore, I’m EXTREMELY afraid to swim in a lake or an ocean. Nevertheless, this year I will do it, even if I have to do it afraid. I’m going to sign up for a sprint triathlon. There are several near Atlanta happening in May. My first step is to join the Atlanta Triathlon Club so I can get the support and education I need.
Anyway, I plan to chronicle this process, so please stay tuned! In the meantime, I welcome any support or feedback you can offer.
Now, that I’ve shared one of my goals for this year, will you share with me one of yours? What is one thing you want to accomplish in 2014?