Setting Goals for the New Year

Personal growth January 26, 2023 By Jeff Meuschke

With a new year just around the corner, it’s a great time to start thinking about the plans and goals you will be working on accomplishing in the next year. Here are some tips to help you set new goals and ensure they get accomplished.

Getting Started

First, think about the following categories: spiritual growth, personal growth, relationships, career, finances, and health. Are there any other important areas you would like to focus on this year? Add them to the list!

On a 1-10 scale, rate where you are in each category for the current year. Once you have rated yourself on the current year, do the same for where you want to be at the end of next year. The category with the largest increase (more than likely) reflects the highest priority for you.

Pyramid graph

Now, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I really want?
  • Why is it important to me to achieve?
  • What has prevented me from achieving this?
  • How will I get it?
  • How will I know it worked? (What does your 2018 rating look like?)
  • What can I do more/less of?
  • What do I want to continue?

Change Your Thinking

Don’t let yourself think, "What if I fail?" Instead, think about how great it would be if you succeed! Like Dr. Joe Vitale said, “A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.”

Identify barriers, or anything else that may stop you from achieving your goals. Adjust your plans accordingly, but don’t change your goal unless you have to. In other words, “be stubborn about your goals, but be flexible about your methods.”

Get an accountability partner (or two, or more). Checking in with someone on a regular basis will help you stay accountable for making progress on your goals. You will want to give your accountability partner a good report, which will motivate you to continually make progress.

Set SMART Goals

I’m sure you have all heard this before, but setting a SMART goal is the most efficient way to achieve your goals. Make sure any goals you set are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

Staying Focused

In the beginning, a challenge is exciting, but sometimes your skills may be lacking. Over time as your skill level increases, but the “challenge” does not, it’s easy to get bored. Conversely, you may set a goal that is too challenging and with a lower skill set, you may experience anxiety. How do you combat that boredom and anxiety?

If you start to feel bored, ask yourself, “Is this challenging enough?” If you start to experience anxiety, ask yourself, “Do I have enough skill?”

Anxiety and Boredom graph

When your skills align with the challenge, you enter what’s called the “FLOW.” Focus on increasing your skills or increasing your challenge to remain in this flow. Remember, success is never easy, but it’s always worth it!

If you struggle with effort, it’s possible this goal isn’t as important to you as you thought and it’s time to have a talk with your accountability partner and mentor.

Forming Habits

Set a reminder – Something more than just an alarm clock, something that keeps your “why” fresh in your mind.

Develop a routine – This is where you focus! Setting a routine will help you develop the habit.

Do not focus on the reward – This is where most people get stuck. Sometimes it’s okay to start with the end in mind, but other times you may get in such a rush to reach the end goal that you miss important steps along the way and it won’t work out the way you envisioned. Plan for cheat days and/or days you know you won’t get things done, and realize it’s okay!

Relapse is part of the process – There will be days when you just don’t get it done. That is ok! Instead of feeling guilty, use your energy to focus on the restart.

“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.” - Unknown

Have a Happy New Year!

By Jeff Meuschke

Senior Managing Director of Mortgage, First United Bank