It’s January and everyone in the personal development world is urging you to set goals.
I have to admit that every January, when I see the old chestnuts ‘SMART* goals’ and ‘New Year, New You’, my heart does sink a little.
Some years I’m not ready to make any meaningful goals on January the 1st – it’s dark, it’s cold and getting back to normality after Christmas and New Year is like getting up in the morning. I need a gentle start, and a goal setting exercise feels more like a cold shower!
And every year the new me looks just the same as the old me!
So if you’re feeling more “urgh” than “hell yes!” about setting yourself goals this January, here are some things to think about…
Plucking a number out of thin air
Are you so keen to set a goal that you’re not picking a useful goal? You don’t have to do a goal setting exercise just because it’s January. You can do it at any time.
Maybe you’re still reflecting, researching and thinking about where to go next. Unless you work through this process fully, you could find yourself setting goals that take you in the wrong direction or goals that you drop soon after you’ve set them.
Big fat waste of time.
Not listening to your market
So you’re going to double your sales in 2012? Do your customers get a say in that? Do they want to buy twice as much of your stuff?
Setting a goal that involves delivering what you think your customers need is going to be much harder work than delivering what they actually want.
It makes sense to ask what your clients want from you before you decide how you’re going to ramp up your sales.
Even if your goal is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, it will still stay a paper exercise if you don’t have any accountability.
Let’s say you want to double your income by December 2012. What should your income be by the end of June? How will you make sure that happens? What’s your plan and how will you stick to it?
I’m a master at over-complicating things – maybe you are too? If you look at your goals for 2012 and wonder how on earth you’ll keep on top of what you should be doing, it’s time to simplify.
Can you be really ruthless about what you want to achieve this year? Really focus in on what’s important and drop those nice-to-have projects that chip away at your time and attention.
Be more flexible
You can change your goals at any time. Think of them as a compass that keep you going in the right direction, rather than a rigid path that you absolutely have to take.
Time to lighten up and stop putting yourself under so much pressure? After all, there’s no point in setting a goal that creates so much stress it outweighs the benefits of setting the goal in the first place!
No goals at all?
And if you can’t face setting goals at all, take a look at this post from Zen Habits…100 days with no goals
Happy New Year!
* ‘SMART’ stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely
(photo by Twid)