By Katy Hanson
New Year is often the time when we reflect on the year past and explore what we would like to achieve in the coming 12 months. Unfortunately resolutions are often fleeting thoughts that are neither realistic nor sustainable. In comparison, goal setting is a useful tool that can give us direction and guidance as we navigate through the weeks and months ahead.
The benefits of goal setting are many. The process focuses attention towards goal-relevant activities and assists in the prioritisation of tasks. Having defined goals often leads to greater persistence and resilience as we have a tendency to work more willingly through obstacles when pursuing a goal. Goal setting is frequently used as a motivational tool as goals often lead to increased effort. The benefits may also be cognitive such as changing or reforming habits.
Some important tips to remember when setting goals:
- Write them down: the process of transferring thoughts into words is important, it helps define the goals, provide clarity and can give perspective;
- Break them down: categorising and prioritising goals assists in focusing efforts towards activities that achieve our most valuable/important goals;
- Make them SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound;
- Include an action plan: for each goal, identify the steps that need to be taken to achieve them;
- Refer to them: the goal setting process is only the first step, it is important to review goals, track progress, refine and make changes where necessary.
Whilst it is important to make goals specific, they should not be too rigid. Things change and setbacks occur, it is important that goals are fluid enough that they can be reviewed and updated if the circumstances necessitate. They can be ambitious but should always be attainable. And remember, goals should be used as a guide but should not place unnecessary pressure on their maker to achieve them.
An Important Message
While every effort has been made to provide valuable, useful information in this publication, this firm and any related suppliers or associated companies accept no responsibility or any form of liability from reliance upon or use of its contents. Any suggestions should be considered carefully within your own particular circumstances, as they are intended as general information only.