For many, ringing in the new year represents goal setting and a new chance to revisit existing objectives.
Often, these goals can be achieved within the year, like traveling, completing a course, looking for a new job, or finding a new home.
While short-term goals are great to work towards, and are important to have, mixing a couple long-term life goals into your new year resolutions is equally important. For example, what are the major areas of your life you want to set goals for? Who are the most important people in your life, and how do you want them to remember you? What matters to you most? Where are you in your current journey compared to where you want to be?
Long-term goals take a little more planning. They're often more complicated. They span over longer periods of time and therefore require more revisiting and adjusting. And unless you think through these goals and write them down, your goal will be unclear. In fact, data shows that 90% of new year resolutions never get fulfilled. Why? Because most resolutions are only thought about, rather than written down with specific steps to achieve them.
To make sure you define and keep your resolutions throughout 2017 – and beyond – here are some tips and steps to follow for your long-term goals.
What's the risk of not setting goals?
- You're not sure where you're headed. Think of it as starting a road-trip with no destination.
- Your actions start driving your thinking, instead of your thoughts driving your actions. For example, you know you shouldn't procrastinate, but when you do it enough, it becomes a habit.
- Time elapsed is time lost. When it comes to life goals, there's no way to go back in time and start sooner, or do things differently. Getting started early with a purpose is important.
How can I set and maintain my life goals?
- Work on them consistently. Pick the areas of your life that are most important to you – whether work, family, spiritual, health, or finance related – and what you need to do to make them better. Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy & Michael Hyatt is a great read to help you do this, and includes templates to help you complete your life plan.
- Set SMART goals. While it may sound cliché, unless your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound, it will be harder to accomplish them. Take time to draft your goals according to a SMART plan.
- Share your goals with someone you trust, and who can hold you accountable. Schedule regular coffee dates with this person to talk about where you are in achieving your goals. Reward yourself with a small treat every time you achieve one.
- Revisit your goals regularly and adjust when needed. Make sure your goals are realistic.
- Include financial goal-setting in your life goals. Financial goals usually take long periods of time to achieve, so having a plan is important to help keep you on track. Keeping your financial goals simple can help you stay focused. For example, start with a retirement plan, and add other goals as you think of them. Do you want to go back to school? Help pay for your kids’ education? Buy a home? To help you plan and stay on track with your financial goals, use a goal-setting tool like InvisorGPS™. There’s no charge to use the tool, and it only takes a few minutes to see your goal progress. Plus, you can access your plan online 24/7 from any device, so you can check in on your progress when it’s convenient for you.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals. All you need is some time – because if you don’t set aside time for yourself, who will? Get started now.