10 years ago I would have laughed if you told me to write down personal and professional goals. YOLO. Things will fall into place. Live for the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe all of these things are true and part of leading a balanced life means being unpredictable and just going with the flow. But goals are important. They should underpin the decisions you make, the paths you take and even the relationships you choose to nurture or cut loose. If choices you make actually detract you from achieving your goals then STOP. You can still make silly decisions (having too many cocktails one night, making new friends and dancing the night away) but not if it means you are going to be hungover for that interview or performance review for your dream job in the morning.
Here are some tips when setting your goals:
- Make them SMART
- Time specific
- For example, one of my personal goals is ‘Have all plans for our new house submitted to council for approval before the end of the year;. I could say have the plans approved by the end of the year and be ready to build next year but this wouldn’t necessarily be achievable. I can only set goals for what I can control. Council may be sluggish to approve, finances may prohibit building in the new year but what I can do is make sure all our ducks are in a row and we have them finalised and submitted for approval.
- Personal and professional
- Have goals for both, they are just as important. To feel fulfilled and happy you usually need to have success in both. I know with me that if I don’t eat right and exercise consistently, my self-confidence drops and my anxiety sets in. Not ideal for when I have to present a key recommendation to an important client!
- Have short term and long term goals
- What do you want to achieve in the next 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, 5 years? Having these milestones along the way will help keep you keep focused and stay on track.
- Make sure the shorter term goals ladder up to your longer term goals. One of my personal goals is to do a family trip to Europe in 2020. I’ll make sure I have financial goals set in place along the way to make sure this trip will happen!
- Everyone has set backs
- Don’t be too hard on yourself, life happens! Make sure you regularly check in to see how you’re tracking and re-calibrate if necessary. If we need to buy a new car for some reason, it may mean the trip is delayed. Or I can change my shorter term goals and try save more each month (if it will be Achievable)
- Make sure your goals will MAKE YOU HAPPY! Don’t make goals because you think that’s what you SHOULD be doing. No point of having the big dog job if it’s going to make you miserable.
- Write them down!
- Writing down your goals helps you to be accountable. Re look at them every month and ensure you are on track.