Hello World, it’s 2017! We’ve hit refresh and now there are 364 days ahead. If we break it down further, that’s 8,760 hours. Deduct the average number of hours we spend working (2,080), sleeping (2,920) and on life in general (2,500), that still leaves around 1,290 potential free hours in a year.
There are countless ways we each spend our time as individuals, but at the start of a new year we also have the opportunity to set the goals we want to achieve over the next 12 months. So even just a fraction of those “1,290 hours” is positive reinforcement that there’s plenty of time to accomplish meaningful goals that will have an impact.
Once you’re ready to set yourself goals, it’s important to make sure they’re the right goals. If you haven’t heard of the SMART method before, it’s a valuable and straightforward way to ensure effective goal setting. You do this by checking your goals meet the following criteria:
Specific: Are your goals clearly defined? It’s essential that a goal isn’t vague. You need to think about the details and outline exactly what you want to achieve.
Measurable: Have you considered how you’ll track your progress towards the goal? This ensures you can set milestones – which act as short-term goals – and are constantly progressing forward.
Attainable: Can you achieve your goal? A goal should be challenging, but realistic. It shouldn’t be easy to reach, but neither should it be out of your reach.
Relevant: What does the goal achieve? Ensure your goals are valuable to you, and that the outcome will be both rewarding and worthwhile.
Time-based: When is the deadline to reach your goal? You need to be able to set specific due dates for your milestones, which will also keep you motivated.
Once you’ve established a goal is SMART and meets all of the above, you’re ready to get started. As you progress towards your goal, I’d also recommend keeping these below tips in mind to help you along the way.
Stay in charge. Be self-disciplined, only you are responsible for ensuring you meet your goals. As Jim Rohn said, “discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” You have to persevere and be consistent. It won’t come easy, but it will be worth it.
Take a break when you need it. At times we can all feel defeated. Whether it’s from frustration or an unexpected challenge, don’t let it get to you. Take a step back, breath, clear your head. There’s no harm in taking a break for a day or a week. Revisit why you set these goals for yourself, consider the reward and fulfillment when you achieve them, and then return revitalizing and ready to move forward.
Stay on top of your progress. It’s important that your goals are measurable and time-based, but that’s only valuable if you’re constantly tracking your progress. Sometimes you may excel ahead faster than anticipated, while other times you may find it challenging to reach milestones. However, you’ll only recognize either instance if you’re on top of your progress.
Celebrate wins. As well as tracking progress, when you do reach a milestone, be sure to pause and appreciate what you’ve accomplished. Every step forward is closer to your goal, and it’s important to acknowledge your progress to stay motivated.
Now it’s time to get out there, set your own SMART goals and make the most of those 1,290 hours. If you’re ready to apply yourself and stay dedicated, I guarantee you’ll achieve something great, learn something new, and exceed expectations.
What 2017 goals have you set yourself? Share them in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter.