Sunday, December 28, 2014

4 Tips for Setting Your 2015 Goals

With Christmas over and the New Year on the horizon you're likely to either be excited to plan for 2015 or disappointed in how 2014 turned out for you. Either reaction is totally fine because I have found through life that some years you do amazing things and accomplish many goals and in other years you maybe hit one or two and that's it. I believe that whether you have achieved a little or a lot your success comes down to having a system that works for YOU.

If you're not new to goal setting, vision boards, or other methods of "making your dream a reality" you've likely experienced those ups and downs. I feel that for many people a lack of success may be due to the fact you don't have a system that works for you. Yes, there are some people who can set all their goals in their mind and achieve them every year without any reminders, posters, or strategy but those people are few and far between. I feel that to be successful in setting and achieving goals you need to know (1) what it is you are trying to achieve, (2) why you want to achieve it, and (3) how you're going to achieve it. 

When I say how I don't mean the logistics of it either. It's likely if you're setting goals they may be things you want to accomplish that will take you the better part of the year or multiple years to complete. In that case I feel you need a strategy and a plan that works for you to ensure you stay on track and eventually achieve your goal. 

For me and my husband we have been setting goals and making goal posters together for years. It's something we enjoy doing as a way of checking in on what's important to us individually and then knowing where we want to go together as a couple and a family. It helps us to know where we want to spend our time and money which keeps those conversations open throughout the year. All this being said, here are seven tips to help you set your goals for 2015.
  • Look at your past: I firmly believe in learning from your past in order to shape your future. If you have tried to set goals and haven’t achieved them I recommend sitting down and getting honest with yourself about why it hasn’t worked out. Maybe you didn’t really want to achieve that goal (it was something important to someone else or it no longer interested you) and that’s ok. Or maybe your goal was a 5 year goal that needed you to accomplish other goals before that goal was possible (see next point). It’s totally ok to toss goals that no longer interest you or to try different processes to achieve your goals. No one method works for everyone so know you’re not a failure if setting goals hasn’t worked in the past.
  • Be reasonable: It’s so easy to decide you’re going to set 20 goals this year or that all your goals will require a significant financial commitment but think through what you’re looking to do and make sure it is reasonable given your current situation. Setting a goal to buy a house AND travel the world in one year when your current job barely covers your expenses is something I wouldn’t consider reasonable. You might have to look at what you need to achieve first as a goal (perhaps applying for better paying jobs, taking a second job, or creating a budget) and then work to set goals in each following year in order to achieve your big goal of buying a house and traveling the world. Be reasonable with your goals knowing that time and/or money will shape what you can feasibly achieve in one year.
  • Get specific: In addition to having reasonable goals you need to know the specifics on what it takes to achieve your goal. In the example of buying a house or traveling the world you need to know what that trip would cost or how much you'd need to have a for a down payment before you could look at how much more money you'd need to earn or what you'd need to cut out of your spending. I also encourage you to look at all the details so you can really make your goal a reality. Knowing how much you need for a down payment on a house is ok but if you didn't plan to pay for appliances, property taxes, homeowners insurance, closing costs, landscaping, or furnishing a house you might get to your dream only to realize you're not really prepared to make that goal a reality. Worse might be if you planned and saved for that world trip to find you never stopped to get a passport.
  • Know your why: If you've been down the goal setting path before you've probably heard this in one form or another but I feel it's true. Setting a goal because your mom or dad wants you to do it or your spouse thinks it's a good idea for you isn't going to motivate you to achieve that goal. I think it's important to look inside yourself and know why YOU want to achieve your goal. It could be the personal satisfaction of accomplishing something, learning something new, or trying something different that may be able to shape your future. It could even just be continuing to do something that makes you happy and brings you satisfaction in life. Whatever the reason, you have to know what it is to be successful.
This post is the first in a new yearlong series that will let you follow my families goal setting process, share important lessons learned, and hopefully help you to start setting and achieving goals. I've put together a 2015 Goal Setting Kit that you can download and use if you aren't sure where to get started. The kit is free for you and your friends or family to use but please do not share it as your own or charge a fee for others if you are hosting a class. I would welcome you linking back to my blog or this post if you'd like to share this information. 

If you put together a goal poster and share it please use #motovated so I can see what your goals are for the new year. I'd love to get connected and stay in touch as we work through our goals! Feel free to share a link to your blog or pictures of your goal poster in the comments below. I feel it's always helpful for others to have examples of what other people are trying to achieve and how they've set up their goals.

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