“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
2021 has arrived, and most of us are quite glad to kiss 2020 good-bye. As that tiny sprout of hope begins to bloom, it seems that everyone and his neighbor are declaring their New Year’s resolutions. Most resolutions will lose their charm by February 1st, and less than 10% will fully succeed. We have all been on that train.
So, rather than forming traditional resolutions — may we suggest taking the other path – the one marked ‘goal-setting’?
Resolutions vs. Goals
Resolutions and goals can seem to go hand-in-hand. The lines between the two can become blurred, but there are notable differences.
Resolutions tend to be hard, firm changes without any build-up steps or guidance. For example, “I will go to the gym five times a week.” To make a resolution is to make a decision. But resolutions do not provide the method of following through on that decision.
Goals, however, are more fluid. Instead of making a substantial change all at once, goals allow for steps (sometimes baby ones) to reach a result –the object of your pursuit. Goals provide a direction.
Write them down. When you run in a marathon, you must register before the race, or you cannot participate. Think of your goal as a marathon – writing it down is registering. It’s also the first step toward success.
Be specific –Don’t short yourself by remaining vague and undefined. Follow up goals like “I will spend more time with my family,” with specific steps to keep you accountable. For example, Block out Monday and Thursday in my calendar for dinner/games with my family. No meetings, golf, or other activities on those nights.
Stay Realistic. Part of the problem with your typical New Year’s Resolution is that they are often a bit unrealistic on top of not providing direction. For example, an unrealistic resolution might be to get a new job that pays 25% more than your current position before April 15th. On the other hand, a goal to find a new position at higher pay could be broken down into:
- January- Search job boards and choose a direction for growth. Make a list of potential skills to gain or improve.
- February- Sign up for an online class that corresponds with those skills. Update resume.
- March- Contact a staffing agency and connect with a recruiter. Customize your resume to each position that interests you and submit it.
Ensure your goal is measurable. Break your goal into steps and estimate the date you will complete each step. Remember that, marathon? Experienced runners go over the route before the race. They know where the checkpoints are and what their time should be at each one if they want to complete the race under a specific time.
By defining amounts, timetables, actions, etc., you can track your goals and your journey toward completion. Nothing is quite as satisfying or motivating, as checking off another step as you march toward completion.
Visualize the Future. Part of setting realistic and measurable goals for yourself is visualizing what you want for your future. That vision of you, and your future, articulate your goals. And the best thing is that that vision can grow and change and mold along with you. So, visualizing and planning for your future self, sets you up to be a growth committed human as well.
Refer to your goal(s) often.
Make reminder notes and put them in places where you won’t miss them – the front of the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, the little chalkboard beside the coffee pot, etc.
Reward yourself. While reaching a goal is its own reward, the journey can be a long one. So, reward yourself at each checkpoint along the way. Choose your rewards wisely – something that correlates to your goal. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, then shopping for a new article of clothing is a great reward, but indulging in a pan of double-chocolate, chocolate chip brownies is counteractive.
At Hamilton Connections, we support your company goals – you know, the goals where your growth means you need more employees. We are Placement Professionals — placing the right people with the right people. Contact us today.