Attacking the New Year – Setting Proper Goals

New Year's Resolutions

We’ve all done it…

“My New Year’s resolutions are to get in better shape, to be a better husband/wife/child/etc, and to make more money…”

Sound familiar?  

Although worthy in aspiration, resolutions (or goals) such as these are more wishful thinking than they are tangible goals.  Like most things in life, setting proper goals takes a little know-how and alot of in-depth thought.  Here are some general rules of thumb I use:

  1. You only need 3 – Jim Collins, author of “Built to Last” and “Good to Great,”If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any priorities.”  Point being, when the list gets too long it is easy to get overwhelmed.  When setting goals, less is always more.  The idea isn’t to throw a bunch of stuff on the wall and see what sticks; the idea is to successfully challenge ourselves to be better, happier beings.  Old habits die hard, and creating new habits is even harder.  When setting goals, think KISS (the adage not the rock band) – Keep It Simple Stupid!
  2. Keep them SMART – Another popular adage, SMART stands for “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.”  When you set a goal for yourself, it should be able to meet all these requirements. When looking back at the new year’s resolutions mentioned in the beginning of this post, it becomes easy to see how these types of goals fall well short.  A better version might be: lose 10 lbs of body fat by Fourth of July weekend, cook dinner for wife at least once a week, and to increase my earnings 15% by exceeding top sales target at work.  For each of these goals you should know what needs to be done to make them happen, ie, to lose 10 lbs of body fat by Fourth of July weekend I am going to run 3X week and cut out soda and twinkies from my diet…
  3. Write them down, laminate them, and look at them every day – Doing this serves a very specific purpose.  Simply put, the body achieves what the mind believes.  Napoleon Hill, author of the timeless, renowned book “Think and Grow Rich,” discusses the power of the subconscious mind to achieve desired outcomes in depth.  He states: “You may voluntarily plant in your subconscious mind any plan, thought, or purpose which you desire to translate into its physical or monetary equivalent.”  Looking at your goals every day does alot more than reminding your conscious mind about what you want to accomplish, it also programs your subconscious mind to take the actions necessary to achieve the desired outcome.  For the same reason that we often do and say things that we didn’t specifically plan out beforehand, the subconscious mind is a very powerful tool.

For the last three years I have used this basic system.  My goals are printed on 2 different laminated cards – one placed under my computer monitor at work and one that stays in my car.  I look at them at least 5 times daily.  The result?  Of the nine goals I have written down in the past three years, I have accomplished seven.  Not perfect, but a 780 batting average to accomplish tasks that have bettered my life is not too shabby.

What do you plan to accomplish this year?



One thought on “Attacking the New Year – Setting Proper Goals

  1. Pingback: The 4 Horsemen of Personal Finance: Number 1 | Wallet Sense

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