Happy new year! I’m so glad you made it.
Now let’s get down to business. It’s a new year, and it is the time everyone talks about new year resolutions, goals, plans and all. I’m pretty sure you have yours, or have thought about them. At least, anyone who wants to think of him/herself as serious minded or an achiever would talk of goals and plans for each new year.
Having them is not a problem. I, too, do have mine. But we cannot deny the fact that most times these things are done as mere formalities or go unattained at the end of the year. In fact, I think that the issue now is not really in getting people to set these goals and targets. It is in getting them to do it right.
When it was time for me to think of the new year, I asked myself a question: How do you ensure you set the right goals for the new year? To solve that problem, I discovered a question that, if answered correctly, will set anyone on the right path for each new year.
The question is this: WHAT DOES 2017 MEAN TO ME?
Knowing we set goals for different areas of our life, you can ask yourself this question on a general level, and directly applying it to all the other facets of your being.
What does 2017 mean to you? What does 2017 mean to your career, business, finances, academics, relationship, marriage, family, even health, spirituality, etc?
This is a question of purpose. It is a question that drives objectivity. It forces us to accept the fact that to make something out of anything, we must try to understand its place in our life. When you understand the place of the new year in your life, you will know just what you should do with it or make out of it.
But that question cannot be answered just like that. To arrive at the answer, you would have to break it down. Here are three questions that would come out of it.
1. Where am I going to?
What are my lifetime dreams or long term goals for my life and for each of these areas?
Truth is, you have been living before the new year, and 2017 is just a phase in your life. Hopefully, you will keep living after 2017 has gone. So the talk of goals and targets cannot begin with 2017. It begins with the life you already have.
If you don’t have goals and dreams for your life or long term goals for your business, finances, career, etc, you shouldn’t be talking about goals for 2017.
So, before you finalise on what you say are your targets for the new year, be sure you already have long term goals or life dreams. These will inform what you should set out for in this year.
Confusion begins when we set goals for a new year that are not in line with where we are going in life or what we have since been working on with our entire life. Except you are trying to take a new turn, even so, it will begin by knowing where your new destination should be.
2. Where have I gotten to so far?
After you have reminded yourself of what your life is about, what you are tying to make out of your life, marriage, business, career, etc, the next thing is to evaluate where you have gotten so far in the journey.
We do well in goal setting when we look at life in terms of a journey; one that should be embarked upon progressively, with every effort made towards propelling the traveller closer to the destination. In this way, we do not waste our time and resources focusing on things and turning to directions that are not in line with our destination.
Many years have come and gone. I assume you have stayed focused on your destination. So, where have you gotten to?
Undeniable is the fact that while we must have placed milestones for our journey when we started out, sometimes we don’t get to reach these things when we think we should have. You may not have achieved all the things you had set out for in the past year or other previous ones. Being able to evaluate your progress, and at the same time see what worked, what didn’t and why, will help you set more realistic targets for the new year and ensure they are also in line, able to connect you from where you are to where you are going.
You will also able to know how much of the journey is still ahead. This can inform a change of strategy, or the need to double efforts, things to avoid, things to do more of, places to improve on, etc.
3. How far should I go this year to ensure I arrive my destination in my target time?
Now this is where you start dealing directly with the current year. Your answers to the previous questions will correctly inform you on what you need to achieve this year to keep up with your life and long term goals.
When you compare where you are going with where you have gotten so far, and match the difference with what time you have left, you are able to divide to this year its own portion of the work of getting you to your long term goals and life dreams.
I look at goal setting like division of labour. When you see what needs to be done and what years you have placed for them, then you try to allocate to each year that comes a share of the targets.
And sometimes because of previous successes or failures, you may have to restructure your milestones, different from what they were when you started out.
Now you are ready to finalise on your goals for the new year.