Achieve your goals in 2016
When undertaking a lengthy course or continual professional development qualification it’s easy to take your eye off the ball and, before you know it, weeks have passed. Why set goals? […]
When undertaking a lengthy course or continual professional development qualification it’s easy to take your eye off the ball and, before you know it, weeks have passed.
Why set goals?
Professional sportspeople, top entrepreneurs and achievers in all fields all set goals. Goals give long-term vision and short-term motivation. They help you organise your time and your resources effectively and efficiently. They also enable you to take pride in your achievements, improve your self-confidence and overall happiness. Plus, they get things done.
Goals can also stretch us and allow us to grow personally: in order to reach our goals, we must become better at what we do.
Tips for effective goal setting
Evaluate where you are now – see what you’ve achieved so far, and what resources (time, money, support) you have to achieve more. This will also give you a sense of perspective.
Define your goals – you probably have a vague idea relating to wealth, success or happiness, but what does that really look like? Start to narrow it down to one or two things in particular. Write these down in short, positive sentences.
Think SMART– be specific about what your goal is, know when how and when you will have achieved it. And while being realistic, make it a challenge.
Have accountability – you’re more likely to achieve a goal if someone is checking up on you. Buddy up with someone else who has set goals, so you can support each other. Have regular meetings, and don’t be afraid to be assertive if the other person isn’t pulling their weight – maybe whoever achieves the least cooks next time?
From big goals to practical tasks
So you’ve got the clear vision, the deadline and the support to achieve you goal. But it still seems quite big and scary. The next step is to break it down into manageable chunks.
Start off with a five-year plan containing smaller goals that you need to complete if you are to reach your ultimate goal. From there create a one-year plan, a six-month plan, and a one-month plan of tasks to complete in order to achieve your headline goal. For example:
- Five-year goal:Be employed in a Finance Director role
- One-year goal:Volunteer to lead projects that your current Finance Director is responsible for
- Six-month goal:Have passed two more CIMA exams
- One-month goal:Talk to a current Finance Director to determine the skills and experiences necessary for the job
- Tasks this week:Book a meeting with an FD and schedule your exams
At an early stage, your smaller goals might be to research or study, or even just plan. But everything you do should be working towards the ultimate aim.
Staying on Course
Once you’ve decided on your initial goals, keep reviewing your plans and to-do list on a daily basis. Schedule periodic reviews for longer plans, and modify them to reflect your changing priorities and experience. Don’t be afraid to make small changes if things aren’t working out.