Setting Goals for the New Year

Most successful people make a habit of setting goals every year.

How do most people go about setting goals for the New Year?  Goal setting is a big part of personal financial planning.  But setting goals is something you should do for all aspects of your life.  I have worked with lots of different kinds of clients and financial advisors, and they all do it differently.  I think the key here is that “you just DO IT!”  Every successful person I know makes a habit of sitting down and using one method or another to set goals for the New Year.  Here are 5 different methods I have heard of that work.  Take your pick, or maybe use a combination of them all…

Categories:  Business, personal, family, financial, spiritual, etc.

This is my favorite way to set goals each new year.  Maybe I like to use it because it’s the way I first learned to set goals.  I think it’s a great place to start, especially if this is the first time you have ever sat down to really think about what you want to accomplish in the coming year.  Make your goals reachable, but still challenging.  Give yourself something to really shoot for.  I was once told that if you aiming for the stars and hitting the mountain top is better than aiming for the mountain top and landing in a pile of garbage :).

Blank slate approach

This approach to goal setting usually starts with a list of “what you want” and ignores what has happened in the previous year.  This could also be a great way to get started if it’s your first time really setting goals.  But most people who set goals each year usually have lots of carry over from the previous year.  Works in progress.  Projects in progress.  Goals you haven’t hit yet.  But if you really work on these goals all year long, you should have a really big “DONE” list too.

The “UGLY” list

This is opposite to the blank slate approach.  Here, you start with a list of things about your life or business that you don’t like, that perpetually bug you, create stress, waste time, adn get in the way.  These are things that when you get rid of or eliminate them, you have achieved your goal.  We all know that it’s easier to pull weeds than to grow flowers.  So with this approach, you are setting your goals by first eliminating the “weeds” from your life.

Use the calendar heavily

If you are like most busy people, you already have lots of dates blocked off way out into 2011.  Your calendar is already full with weekly activities and responsibilities.  This only leaves a limited number of “loose” days to go around.  Divide your year by months, quarters, and halves, and note the goals that you want to accomplish by the end of each period.  Setting deadlines for yourself will be extremely motivating and help you accomplish them.  Use the calendar to move items from the “TO DO” list to the “DONE” list.

Constantly monitor and modify

Most successful people I know constantly make and modify goal lists, one way or another.  Yearly goal setting is not something you do and stuff in a drawer.  You need to keep your goals where you can constantly see them, and modify them as needed.  Seeing them each day will remind you of what you want to accomplish, and will help you use your time wisely.

No matter what approach you take to goal setting, just plain doing it is the first and most important step.  Take the next day or so to really think about what you want to achieve this year, and what you want to get rid of in your life.  Do this, and by 12/31/2011, you’ll have a great big “DONE!” list to admire.

If you have any suggestions for goals setting that you’d like to share, please enter a comment at the bottom of this post.  Your contact information will not be displayed on the site.

Make it a productive year!!

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