Creating new years resolutions seem to have become more of a ritual than a meaningful exercise in self-improvement. I firmly believe in creating goals but in the past, my goals were not thought out and produced little in the way of results. This year, I decided to take goal setting serious.

Many of us make general statements about where we hope to be in 5, 10 or 20 years, but I wonder how many of us have a plan in place to get there. Most of us just keep our fingers crossed and hope that fate gets us there. We all have aspirations and dreams, but without a plan, very few of them will come to fruition. 

Several weeks ago, I saw an article on Facebook titled 20 Things the Rich Do Everyday and I was amazed to see that the majority of the list had nothing to do with money, but with self-improvement exercise and discipline. One, in particular, caught my attention: 67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% of poor. So this year I decided to be very specific with my goals and write them down.

When generating my goals, I looked back to the goals that I accomplished from years past and tried to determine a common thread. What I found were these five keys.

Understand What is Important

Before crafting your goals, take some time to reflect in the areas of your life you want to improve. Write them down and use them as the basis for your goals. Because these items are important to you, you are more likely to achieve them. Don’t over analyze or get too deep. Get your list down to 5 key areas you want to focus in the new year and craft your goals around those areas. For me, these were Personal, Family, Financial, Spiritual and Career.

Be Specific & Realistic

Generic goals are hard to measure and hard to accomplish. Create goals that are specific; black and white. Don’t create goals that you cannot accomplish otherwise you will feel defeated and unmotivated to continue working towards your other goals. If you need to start small and easy, that is fine. You’re building self-confidence as you begin to mark accomplishments.

Pace Yourself

Outline how you are going to accomplish each of your goals. For example, I have a goal to read 13 books this year (which is a lot for me). To accomplish this goal, I know that I need to read one book every six weeks or so. Pacing prevents the overwhelmed feeling that comes towards the end of the year.

Write Them Down

As I mentioned above, the wealthy tend to put pen to paper on their goals. In years past, I would document them in a Google doc never to be seen again. Plus, writing in general, as we all know from our school days, has been proven to increase memory retention. I have written my goals on a nice piece of paper and posted them in my kitchen where a lot of time is spent. Always visible and in the forefront of my mind.

Become Accountable

Some goals require motivation and encouragement from others. I don’t like going to the gym, but after going with my wife on a regular basis, it became harder to find an excuse not to. My wife held me accountable and together, we conquered! Everyone has, at least, one goal that will require you to be accountable to someone. Find someone who is willing to help, and stick with it!

Here are some of my goals for 2014. I am hoping that you will hold me accountable to some of these items as we move through a new year!

Professional

  • Publish an Admin Hero blog post every other week
  • Learn APEX (specifically how to write triggers)
  • Obtain my Developer certification

Personal

  • Read at least 13 books
  • Workout 3 times per week
  • Payoff at least three debts
  • Create a better work/life balance

What are your goals for 2014? What tools or methods do you use to create your goals?

Photo Credit: Lauren Marek via Flickr

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