I don’t know about you, but 2010 has been a pretty big year for me! I’ve done a lot if I think back on it, but I’m not sure where the year went all of a sudden? I know people say the years go faster as you get older, but I never used to believe it until recently… I think that means I’m getting old! Anyway, here is my list of big events that happened this year:
- My wife and I had our first child
- We bought another investment property
- We finished renovating our house (at least the inside)
- I traveled 3 months out of the year and took my wife and baby with me
There are a bunch of other smaller things that my family and I have achieved throughout the year, but the ones above have been the most significant and were all goals that we set out to achieve this time last year. Ok, we may have kicked off the baby making a little earlier (she was born in May), but we had been planning for it 🙂
Setting Goals Instead of Resolutions
You might have noticed that I used the word goal instead of resolution, there is a very good reason for this. Goals are actionable and are made consciously, while resolutions are admissions of bad habits and are usually made while drunk! Seriously though, how much time do you put into thinking about your New Years resolutions? They are generally not well thought out and tend to be about fixing things we don’t like about ourselves, like losing weight, quitting smoking, going to the gym, being a better person, blah blah blah… whatever, you probably won’t do it anyway.
Don’t make resolutions, set goals! The number 1 reason for setting goals is so you can measure them. If you can’t measure it, you can’t track your progress and if you can’t do that, then you will fail.
Measure Twice Cut Once
This is a saying you hear from tradespeople, or your dad when he is trying to offer you advice during home DIY projects. Despite being rather annoying, it is actually pretty good advice. If you measure something (properly), there is a far better chance of getting it right.
So how do you apply this to your New Years goals? Easy, just find a way to measure it and add a realistic completion date. No, that doesn’t mean December 31, 2011. If you really think that your goal is going to take all year to complete, then it is probably a good sized goal that can be broken down into smaller goals or milestones. If this is the case then map it out over the course of the year and use your milestones to stay on track and keep you feeling good about your progress.
Motivation to Make it Happen
My wife and I were very lucky this year to be blessed with a beautiful baby girl. To be honest the rest of the year flew by and we didn’t focus on much else except enjoying time as a family. Our other goals of buying another investment property and finishing our renovations were completed before the birth (just!). Having our first child was obviously a pretty big motivator for us, we had a deadline and we knew what had to be done. Obviously not everyone is going to have a such a big driver every year, so you need to find ways to stay on track and keep motivated.
If you don’t already have a goal, then you aren’t trying hard enough! There is always something that you would like to achieve, do more of or just do better. If you have a lot of goals, then you might need to review these and focus on just a few significant ones, or even just one big one. One significant goal achieved is way better than none at all and having many will reduce your focus. If you have a partner, you might like to have an individual goal and a combined goal. If you don’t have a partner, it is worth considering finding someone to team up with that has a similar goal to you so that you can work together.
Tools to Achieve Your Goals
If you can’t find a partner to share or help with your goal then don’t despair, there are lots of clever people in the world that have set out to help us achieve our goals. I’m a big fan of technology and love a good resource, so here are a few little links that will hopefully help you reach your goals for the New Year:
Mashable have some great reviews about phone apps. I reccomend checking out their iPhone New Years apps article from last year. It might be a year old, but it is still just as useful today. If you are after some more great iPhone apps, then you should also check out my 6 great iPhone apps post.
If you don’t have an iPhone or just want some web based tools, then you would be hard pressed to go past the Online Productivity God article also over at Mashable. This might actually be a little overwhelming, so take your time or just scan for what might work for you. Productivity tools are really the key to help you achieve your goals, so I’m sure you will find something helpful in this huge list.
If all of this is just a bit too much and you are just looking for a way to track your goals, then I have a solution for you. This online tool will let you view your progress anywhere you can access a computer, set tasks and reminders for specific dates and perhaps even share it with friends or anyone else for that matter, wherever they are in the world. This simple tool is the calendar in Google apps, best of all its FREE! If you don’t have a Google account then go and get started, you should also find some other great free Google apps that are perfect for collaborating with others and they are totally portable too.
Finally some motivation tools. Since I got it for Christmas, I have been glued to my copy of the 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. This is a great book for anyone interested in improving various aspects of themselves and I highly recommend it. One of the best bits is the Tools and Tricks at the end of each chapter and I wanted to share a couple with you. Habit Forge is a really cool tool that will email you reminders for 21 days and if you don’t action them, it just keeps on bugging you until you do! This is a great way to help form good habits, so give it a go. Another favourite of mine is Stickk. Stickk will let you set a goal, provide some motivation, invite someone to keep an eye on your progress and tell other friends about it to support you as well. You also get ridiculed by those you invited to help if you don’t achieve your goal… pretty good motivation eh?
Well there we go, a nice assortment of resources to help you achieve your New Years goals. Now go commit to something and take action!
Image by Leorex