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How to set goals?

Have you set your goals for this year already? Do you have some ideas or visions of what you want to do? What do you want to accomplish when 2022 is finished? A lot of times, we create new year’s resolutions, but it is even better to sit down to create specific new year goals that are achievable. It's not a problem if this goal-setting happens later in the year. It's more about the commitment ad action of sitting down and making time to create your goals.

Successful people know the goals they want to achieve

Do you know what the difference is between people who are successful and those who are not? As much as I don’t like to use the word success, I am using it here to make the message that I want to bring forward clear. There are many ways to define success, but one of the ways I like to describe it is that you are successful when you are able to reach the goals or things you want in life. Other people would say you are successful if you reach the goals and get the things in life that are desired by a majority of the people in society. I don’t agree with that because success is different for everyone. I can be successful when I am able to give quality service to my clients, but I am also successful when I reach the financial goals that I have set for myself.

How to make goals for the new year?

We often like to ‘start over’ again, to ‘start anew’ each year. It gives us hope and motivation, so it is an energy we should take advantage of. The new year is an excellent time to set new goals! There is a new, refreshing energy that comes with it. It is good to already start thinking about your goals now. The goals you set can be about work, about your relationships, about something new you want to try, about your personal development, about a new habit you want to create. You name it.

It is important that the goals are specific enough. Maybe you have heard about the SMART model of setting goals. I will explain this to you here. To be able to achieve your goals, it is good to make them SMART.

What are SMART goals exactly? SMART goals are:

  • Specific. You can make it specific by answering the what, why, where, which, who questions.

  • Measurable. Here you answer the ‘measurement’ questions, like: ‘how many?’, ‘which measures?’

  • Achievable. Is the goal achievable? Ask yourself, ‘Am I being realistic?’ Maybe your finances or time may not allow you to reach your goal in the way you want it.

  • Relevant. Ask yourself: ‘Is this goal worthwhile? Is it the right timing? Is it needed? Is it relevant?’

  • Time bound. ‘When will I do it? What can I do now? What can I do in six months?’

For example:

  • A goal that is very vague: I want to read more in 2022.

  • A goal that is already more clear: In 2022, I want to read at least 5 books.

  • SMART Goal: Every Sunday I will read at least 20 pages in my book, so that at the end of the year I will have read more than 5 books.

From goals to actions

Once you have set your goal, you can look at all the actions that are needed to reach that target. Maybe you need to buy certain things. Maybe you need to figure out how you can create time and so on. List all the different actions you think of and then look at the priorities. Which actions do you need to take first to be able to reach the goal? What action do you need to start with? In the example above, you could choose the first book you want to read, make sure you have it, put the time in your agenda when you will read it, make sure that you don’t forget by maybe sending yourself a notification, make sure that you won’t be bothered at that time, etc.

Every person has a different approach to setting goals and planning. Some people like to plan into details or need structure. For other people, setting strict plans gives them more anxiety. It is important to know yourself, be honest to yourself and understand what works best for you. To be able to evaluate your goals eventually, it is good that you set out when you will do what. You can create a monthly calendar and outline: what will you do in January? What will you do in February? Or you can create weekly tasks. Which action will you take this week? Some people also like to work with trimesters and semesters.

Short term and long term planning

“People often overestimate what they can do in one year, but they underestimate what they can do in ten years” is a quote often used. This means that it can be smart to do some short term and long term planning.

To do some long term planning, you can first brainstorm. Write everything down that comes to your mind, your dreams, your visions, the ideas that you have, the things you want to achieve between now and ten years. If you have a lot of different goals, it is time to make a selection of which ones you will focus on.

Which goals are your priority? Which goals will you set aside for a while? If it is difficult for you to find some goals or to dream, then just think about things you enjoy now, which things you would want to learn, grow in, or do. If you want inspiration you can also type in Google: ‘what goals can I set?’

Making priorities

Both for short term and long term planning, it is important to make priorities. A lot of times we have so many dreams or visions. But if we start doing them all at once, in the end we don’t finish any of them. So, it is important that you have the courage to ‘cut’ certain goals or put certain goals aside so that you can thoroughly work on your most important goals first.

Once you have written your goals down, you can make them into smaller goals or you can link some actions to them. Then choose what you will start with. To achieve goals, it is very important that you commit yourself to doing the actions you have laid out for yourself. With your long term goals, you can choose which goals you’ll start this year with. For short term goals, you can choose which ones to get started on this month or this week.

Review your goals!

Sometimes we set some goals at the beginning of the year, but then after one month we have already forgotten about them. When you are setting goals and actions, it is important to set a date when you will evaluate those goals. Evaluation is important to adjust the goals or to change something like the steps to take towards achieving them. It might also be that it is difficult for you to keep to the commitment you made to yourself. If this is the case, you can search for ways to make it easier to keep working on your goals and keep yourself on track. When you commit to doing this, you create a learning process for yourself. So, if you have set your goals and actions for 2022, when will you evaluate how everything is going for the first time?

By setting goals, creating actions and evaluating how everything is going, you are doing what so many successful people do! And the most important thing we need to remind ourselves is that we are human and we also make mistakes. If something is not working out or you have the feeling you are failing, your success lies in standing up again and trying again! It is in this process of falling and getting up again, that you learn, that you grow, and that you reach your goals!


PS. If you would like to create your goals and want some guidance with it, I created a Masterclass Goal Setting. Step by step it will guide you through setting goals. There are teachings, a workbook & a meditation to clear all your blocks that are preventing you fro reaching your goals.

Read more here!

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