What will you accomplish this year?
I cannot believe the number of people I have heard complaining about 2022, because they fell short of achieving their goals. Many of them claim that it was a dismal year. They say there were no opportunities, or their progress is coming slower than expected. That seems like sour grapes, and here’s why.
Every situation provides opportunities. Where some see roadblocks and complain, others view the same as a challenge to be conquered. Mindset is everything.
No matter if you are focused on New Year’s resolutions or achieving other goals which you have had your sights on for a while, it takes work to make progress. Studies show that less than 10% of people who set goals achieve them. Looking back on last year, what did you accomplish? How could you have done more?
My year started with a lot of promise, launching my first online workshop (Discover Your Ikigai) in January and several coaching consultations. It then took a big hit when my father passed away the next month, my grandmother in May, and my uncle died in October.
My coaching and freelancing opportunities didn’t go so well either after that big burst of initial success. However, by summer, I had a new job running the APAC technical training program for SOTI, an enterprise mobility management service.
All tolled, I had eleven major accomplishments in 2022. Those ranged from long time achievements (200th story posted on Medium.com and clearing Level 3 of Toastmasters’ Presentation Mastery track); to beneficial losses (my gallbladder and its pain left me in December, and a troubling wisdom tooth fell out on its own in September). I also conquered a bucket list achievement, surfing for the first time, and hit the waves six or seven times.
My goals for this year are even more ambitious. They include presenting training in at least three countries, having a regular coaching clientele of at least 5 people, and writing one or more stories with over 10,000 reads. What are your goals for this year?
Instead of looking at why people fail to achieve their goals, let’s examine what you can do to find more success. Here are seven techniques which helped me and could help you too.
Use routines to create a foundation for your goal
Being consistent in your approach, especially in the morning and evening, provides a foundation that keeps you focused. My morning routine includes meditation, reading, a dose of positivity, and breakfast. This starts my day off with a feeling of achievement.
My evening routine is a wind-down. I often listen to jazz or classical music while reflecting on the day’s successes and failures. Then, when my head hits the pillow, I visualize success in an area that is important to me.
Go for big goals
We often worry about creating the perfect conditions for starting the journey to success. However, no matter what you do to lay the groundwork, things will change as soon as you start down the path.
Instead, think of goals as a lighthouse showing the way in the dark. You may not know how you will achieve your goals, but having that lighthouse to aim for makes adapting to adversity easier. Thus, setting your goals big and positioning them a few years out will allow you the flexibility to learn along the way and reduce feelings of needing to achieve perfection. You may not make it to that big goal, like 10,000 reads. But you will exceed the smaller, limiting expectations, you have for yourself.
We tend to overestimate what we can do in the short-term, but underestimate what is possible over the long run. Go long and go big!
Write them down and display your goals proudly
Writing down what you want to accomplish helps you to keep that in the front of your mind. Posting your goals in a prominent spot, one where you will see them often, can serve as a constant reminder of what you are working towards as well. My goals, for example, are mounted above my desk.
I also have a dream board. It contains images of things I want to achieve and sits over the threshold of my office door. Turn my head to the right, and there it is. An everpresent reminder of things I plan to achieve.
When your goals are top of mind, things will begin to happen that bring them closer to reality. You may suddenly get a burst of inspiration about how to clear a difficult task. Or an opportunity could serendipitously fall into your lap, moving you towards what was seemingly impossible. Magic happens when you know what you want and have a sense of awareness for how to attain it.
Break your goals down
Goals are nothing more than big projects. Whether you aim to cut your body fat to 30%, get a new job, or write a book; you can’t do it in one big step. You will need to endure many micro-tasks to get you there. Decide on the next steps you have to take. Whittle them down to individual tasks, schedule time to complete those, and get to work. Success is accumulated in ticking boxes that lead to recognizable accomplishments.
Learn along the way
Taking time to analyze your work will help you have more success than just ticking off boxes and moving quickly to the next task. Recently, I’ve began using three questions to analyze my progress: highlights, lowlights, and next steps. This makes it easier to understand progress.
Highlights: What are the things that went well? Consider not only the expected successes but also the surprises.
Lowlights: Make a list of the difficulties and performances that did not meet your expectations.
Next steps: Are there corrections to be made in your lowlights? Based on what you know now, what do you need to do next? This evaluation will give you a clear development path.
Put goal related tasks on your schedule
Another way to ensure you get things done is to calendar them. When you see that programming class on your calendar Thursday evening, you know that you’ll need to spend some time preparing for it and will probably do so.
If you set a weekly recurring task to write on Tuesday nights from 8 – 10, your mind will start working on the prewriting before you even sit at the computer. Adding time to your schedule to work on your goals will ensure you are making progress.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
We all make mistakes. We all backslide, and we all set unreal expectations. What matters is not what you are doing wrong, but what you are doing right. Avoid comparing yourself to others, and give yourself credit for the effort you have made. Look hard for progress, and celebrate even the smallest of victories. Doing these things will make you better tomorrow than you were today.
Anyone can make goals, but it takes a special person, like you, to achieve them. When things seem bleak, keep focused on what you want and take baby steps toward those goals.
What are your goals for this year? How can you stretch those beyond your expectation? Write your goals down and place them where you can see them. Finally, make sure to give yourself time to make progress a habit. As you do so, you will continue to learn from both the successes and the failures. Even if you fall short, using these seven techniques will ensure you are not disappointed in your progress.