Taking Aim: How to Set Goals for Success – Not Stress

E asing yourself out of that recliner and back into work? Simply sitting back down at your desk can feel like an accomplishment (bonus points if you’re not holding a cocktail). However, since you no doubt followed our advice on pre-Christmas planning, hopefully you’ve enjoyed a stress-free start to the working year and are already thinking about exactly what you want to achieve over the coming months. But before you get too far ahead, remember that effective goal-setting does require a bit of careful thought. Let’s take a look at five of the best ways to ensure your goals are the right combination of aspirational and attainable:

1. Make sure your goals incorporate everything that’s important to you.

Obviously, you will have work objectives – both personal goals and those necessary for the success of your organisation. However, don’t forget to include goals for other areas of your life: personal and social aspects; your health, fitness and wellbeing; your community involvement; your financial targets. Identify which ones are most important to you right now and establish how much of your time you will allocate to each.

2. Clarity is essential – especially at work.

Statistics show that one of the main reasons people leave their jobs is because they lack a feeling of accomplishment. Be clear on the requirements of your role, what you want to achieve and what you should be achieving. PEPworldwide:nz managing director Kathryn Anda remembers once asking a group of 80 people at one particular company to write down the three key objectives of their roles. Only four were able to do it. Make sure you can.

3. Be super-specific and include a realistic time frame.

Aiming to “lose weight” is not an effective goal. Aiming to lose three kilos in twelve weeks by losing 250 grams every week is. Remember the acronym SMART: your goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonable and Time-related.

4. Enlist the help of technology to set targets.

There are countless apps you can download to help you with goal-setting, whether you need support with personal and business goals, fitness goals, financial goals or more. And of course there are websites too: remember that often a locally-based website like www.sorted.org.nz will be more relevant than its larger American- or European-based counterparts.

5. Look to others for inspiration.

Investigate how successful people achieve their goals. Entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and athletes like Michael Phelps have valuable insights to share. Closer to home, observe and – if you can – question successful people around you. How have they achieved success? What advice can they give you?

Feeling inspired? Now keep these tips in mind and get going with those goals: it’s the perfect time to be establishing clear objectives for the year ahead. And the sooner you start clarifying those ambitions, the sooner you’ll be achieving them.