So another year is here and I’m sure that at least 75% of you have set goals for 2019. The “New Years Resolution” has become more of a meme than an actual motivation, with jokes constantly flying around about setting a goal that will surely be abandoned at some point in the year, usually within the first month or so. I’m not going to use the term “resolution” after this sentence because of the negative, or at least satirical, connotation that it has garnered. I’ll simply refer to setting goals.
Goals are important. Not only for an influential gentleman, but for everyone. They can be huge motivational pushes throughout the year. They help us to keep our focus, and help us to make the right decisions. If I have a goal in my mind to lose weight, I’m going to avoid that extra serving at the dinner table, and avoid ordering dessert when I’m out. That only happens when we take our goals seriously. If you do, you will notice that you start to prioritize you time in positive ways that lead towards goal achievement. If you find yourself with a couple free hours, you can either use that time in an inefficient way, like watching television, or you can use it in a way to meet one of your goals you’ve set. This could mean studying, working out, or any other productive activity. In fact, right now I’m working towards one of my writing goals for the year, having found myself with a free hour.
Doing goals right
Anyone can set a goal. But not everyone sets their goals correctly. Wait a minute, you’re telling me that there is a correct and incorrect way to set a goal? Yes I am. The key term here is that your goals need to be quantifiable. This simply means that you need to be able to definitively measure your goals. Here is how this looks applicably:
“In 2019 I want to read more”
“In 2019 I want to read 20 new books”
“In 2019 I want to make more money on the side”
“In 2019 I want to make $5,000 outside of my normal job”
It should be obvious that the latter goal in each of these two examples is a better way to word your goal. At the end of 2019 you need to be able to definitively say that you have met or not met your goal. You don’t want to get to December 31st and say “Yeah i think I read more this year. I read 10 or 11 books and I think I read less than that last year so that’s a goal met I’m pretty sure.” Even in that sentence there is a coping mechanism of ensuring yourself that you’ve met the goal. In contrast, the person who made the second goal can say “I set out to read 20 books, I read 22 books. Goal met.” There is zero question about whether or not the goal has been met because there was an objective measurable standard.
Same goes with the second example. “Well I sold some comic books during the summer and bought and sold a car, that combined was 2,500 dollars. So yeah, I made more money on the side because I didn’t make any side money last year.” Is that person wrong? No, their goal was technically met. But if they would’ve made $50 gambling they could’ve said their goal was met too, because there was no measurable standard. You need to put a target number as a goal, or else your goal becomes a gray area.
Set goals both on the process, and on the end result
This is a concept that I discovered this year, because often the process that you take to get a goal is really a goal in itself. Here’s an example. Let’s say you have a goal to publish a book. That’s a great goal! However, there is a ton of work that goes into that goal. You need to write, and you need to write a ton. So, writing can be a goal in itself. You can say “In 2019 I want to average 6 hours of writing per week. That’s a perfect “process goal” for a couple reasons:
1. It’s quantifiable. You know whether or not you can meet it. You’re also not going to fail if you don’t hit 6 hours every week, because you can make it up another week to stay on track.
2. It’s completable even if the end result isn’t. Let’s say you get to the end of the year and you’ve written 6 hours on average every single week. That’s a huge feat in itself and, congratulations, you can check off a goal as completed! However, you realize at December 31st you’re only 3/4 of the way towards finishing your book. That’s ok! The process goal has helped you come to the realization that completing and publishing a book may take longer than you’ve anticipated. You put in the work, and now you can adjust your end result goal for next year. That’s an absolute win.
This is the case for a ton of goals. Is your goal to grow your social media to X amount of followers? Set a process goal for posting a certain amount of times.
Is your goal to lose 30 pounds? Set a process goal to work out 3x per week all year (maybe give yourself some leeway and say you have to do that for 40 of 52 weeks, because life happens).
Find your goal and then determine what you think a successful process would entail to achieve that goal. Then, make that a goal in itself.
How many goals should I set?
This is completely up to you! I have 20 goals for this year, which is a solid mix between process goals and end result goals. I’ve categorized my goals into groupings such as career, financial, social, health, etc. Because many of my goals are completely different, they don’t conflict with one another and I can have a good amount of goals. I encourage you to make a spreadsheet, either hand written or on Excel, that has a heading for category, goal, and tracking your goal. Tracking is important because you can see how you’re doing throughout the year. In my opinion, the smarter you make your goals (i.e. spreadsheets and categories), the more you can handle without overwhelming yourself.
Go get your goals
Nothing complicated in this article, but if you have a logical mind you can see that this is a better way to set goals for yourself. You don’t want to leave any doubt at the end of the year whether or not your goals have been met. You also don’t want to realize that you underestimated the difficulty of a goal and have no positive success to show for it.
Make your goals quantifiable. Make your processes a goal. Now, go and achieve those goals everyone!