The beginning of a new year is a favorable time to look back and reflect on the events that happened in the past year and take stock of our life. Many people start their year with a lot of excitement and full of new goals and resolutions. But as time goes by, they get overwhelmed by the business of daily life and little by little start compromising on what they originally had set out to do. Worse, there are people who never do any planning whatsoever! They just let it be. There is a quote that says “if one does not do any planning, one is planning to fail.” The Law of Entropy is unforgiving, my friends!
So, clearly it is healthy and important to be constantly establishing new goals for every area of our life and commiting to them. So, how can one come up with reasonable goals and not lose track of them? Let me give you some suggestions.
1) Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T, i.e., specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Pay special attention to the achievable and timely factors. For example, instead of: “I want to read more this year”, put something like: “I want to read three books this year: book ‘abc’, ‘def’ and ‘ghi’ “.
2) For each goal, design a specific plan to achieve it. Goals (and dreams also) without a plan to achieve them are just desires, just wishful thinking. For each goal, jot down the steps necessary to reach that goal. For example, “on Mondays and Wednesdays I’m gonna read book ‘abc’ for two hours “.
3) Make it visible, inspect and adapt! Put your goals and plans in a place where you can always see and review them. Assess how much progress you are making and make the necessary adaptations in your plans. This inspect-and-adapt cycle is very important to keep your goals feasible (and, consequently, keep yourself motivated). These ideas were taken from the Scrum framework. Therefore, if something is not working, change it! Remember that “it’s foolishness to do the same things over and over again expecting to obtain different results“.
Examples of areas you might consider when drawing up your plans: spiritual, physical, familiar, professional, personal growth, social, leisure and financial.
I’m already outlining my goals and plans for this next year and this will be part of my strategy. Have you done your planning? If not, what are you waiting for?
“To man belong the plans of the heart,
but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue.”
(Proverbs 16:1 – Bible)