Happy New Year! When I was younger, I fantasized about counting down till the clock struck midnight and then kissing my beau! (when you watch too many oyibo movies).
However, as a good Nigerian Christian lady, I usually cross over into each year in a house of worship, praying and singing praises… which, to be honest, is something I quite enjoy.
Something I didn’t always enjoy, however, is making my plans for the New Year. Every year, I write this long list of my plans for the year, and with some I struggle, while with others I soar. I started enjoying making my resolutions when I realised that “New Year Resolutions”, goals, prayer points or whatever were not magical wishes but issues that I actively had to work towards. You see, if one of your plans for the year is to get a better job, you can’t just sit on your pretty behind and twiddle your thumbs while time flies by – you have to intentionally work towards it.
Here’s my checklist for making achievable plans every year!
1. What do you want?
Remember that when it comes to setting goals, it has to be something that you desire, not something that’s in vogue or something your mum wants. Part of the motivation for achieving goals is desire. You need a crystal clear vision of what you want and why you want it.
2. How will it work?
Okay, so this year you want to have a tiny waist and fat bank account. It sure ain’t up to Santa, so how do you plan to achieve this? Start making concrete action plans on how you’ll eat healthier, exercise more and splurge less this year. If you don’t make plans, then don’t blame anyone but yourself if your plans fall flat and you end the year one dress size higher.
3.Write them down: While it’s nice to daydream while you enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee, it actually makes more sense to write them down. Writing down your goals gives some “flesh” to your dreams and makes them more tangible. You could also create a vision board using this same principle but this time writing and putting up images of your goals.
Writing down our goals also serves as a reminder that helps spur you on, especially in moments of self-doubt. Writing down your goals in a journal or diary helps you keep track of your progress. As the bible says, “write the vision; make it plain… run with it”. To help everyone with this particular step I have introduced the Goals, Growth & Gratitude Journal which is a great way to sync your goals with what you have achieved every week! Send me an email to order.
4. Tell a friend
Now note that I didn’t say tell your whole village or announce it on IG. Instead, pick an accountability partner, someone who you know has your back and can give you that little push when you get weary. It might be your mum, dad, mentor, sibling, BFF or someone else who has proved his or her mettle. Choose a friend who will help and encourage you when things don’t seem to be working out – certainly not the kind that will laugh at your first sign of failure and say “You see yourself? When you are trying to overdo” or someone who will tear you down or make you feel awful. Instead look for someone who is almost a personal cheerleader (not someone who won’t be honest with you or a sycophant)
We all have our own positive “otimkpu”, a cheerleader, that person who believes you can do anything and everything, and who will encourage you when your dream is beginning to look like a fantasy. The person you tell could also be a mentor; someone who has done it before and who can remind you that “it” can be done. It could be your spouse, sibling, friend, colleague or a life coach.Just make sure you tell someone who will encourage you and spur you on.
In the event that you do tell the wrong person, that should not deter you. I remember when I told a dear friend about something I planned to do. She looked at me in disbelief and said some rather discouraging words , but rather than allow her lack of faith deter me, it spurred me on and the project is now done and dusted.
5. Meet like minds
This is closely associated to the tip above, hanging out with people who will inspire and maybe even joining a group will help. Also attending certain programs will inspire you and help you keep on track with your goals. While there are a lot of chaff there are also good ones I would personally recommend FREE conference hosted annually by Jimi Tewe. It features a lot of amazing speakers (for free) who you can then narrow down and attend their paid programs.
6. Set deadlines
Personally, I’ve found that when I have a deadline, I work harder and keep my eyes on the goal. A good example is a bride trying to lose a few stubborn pounds for her big day. Her goal is her wedding date, and she works towards it with fixed determination. In the same way, if you give yourself a realistic deadline for a particular goal or plan, you will find it easier to get it done and dusted. For instance, instead of planning to lose (or gain) weight in 2019, you could plan to lose 7kg before Easter, and set out a weekly timetable of how you plan to achieve this.
7. Be Smart
Using The SMART formula is always a great way to elucidate your goals. First of all set Specific goals: do not beat around the bush, but make them clear straight to the point, for example “I want to take a communications course in the UK in the first quarter of this year”. The more specific your goals are, the more achievable they will be. Your goals should be Measurable: that way you will be able to see to what extent they have been attained over time. It’s important to set milestones, as tracking your progress will help to keep you motivated. Try and make your dreams Attainable: now what is attainable depends on a lot of factors, such as your personal skills and inclinations, which can always be developed as part of your goal-setting. So do not make the mere fact that no one has done it before slow you down. It may be hard, but if you believe it can be done, set those goals and go ahead!
Your goals should be Realistic: now this doesn’t mean that your goals should be mediocre or small. You should dare to dream big! As a life coach once said, “if your dreams don’t scare you they are probably too small”. Lastly, let your goals be Time-based: rather than a plan to “write a book one day ”, it should be a case of a plan to “I shall start writing a book before summer”.
8. Don’t be too hard on yourself
It’s so easy to look at your contemporaries and think how much farther ahead they seem to be, especially with social media constantly showing us flashy highlights of other people’s lives. Just remember that life always looks more glamorous in pictures. So stop looking at “your mates” and focus on yourself. And if you stumble along the way, as we all do, pick yourself up, learn from the mistake and keep forging ahead. It’s not a competition. Everyone has their own race to run, and when you attain your own personal goals, you can give yourself a big pat on your back.
9. Stay on track
If you’re as restless as I am, it’s so easy to start one thing, then stop halfway and start on something else. This is a bad habit, as you’ll only end up with plenty of unfinished projects. While multitasking is fine and sometimes necessary, it’s also important to maintain focus in order to see things through. For example, if you have a list of fifteen goals, rather than working on eight major ones at a time, why not take on two or three at a time and keep working your way through your list? You’ll find that this way, you’ll achieve more in less time.
There are times when you need to actually take time away from the maddening crowd to sit down and reflect on what your goals actually are. It could be something as simple as a few hours in the spa or alone at home when you can sit down and just gather your thoughts. Goal-setting retreats, which are becoming more popular, are also good places to sit down and reflect on your thoughts. Having a vision board party is also a great way to reflect, think and visualise all the stuff you want to achieve in the New year. Having the vision board somewhere conspicuous will serve as a reminder in other times of reflection. Personally my vision board helped me reflect on my goals alot in 2018 and it was amazing to see how much I had achieved.
What are your tried and tested ways of achieving your goals for the year?