How clear is your vision for 2020? And have you already set out your goals for the year ahead?

My final post for 2018 spoke about setting goals rather than committing to resolutions as each new year approaches, and my last post for 2019 will follow a similar theme.

But first, I’d like you to reflect back to 12 months ago. Did you set goals for 2019? And were they achieved? If so, well done! And if not, don’t be disheartened… It’s hard for humans to achieve goals as it’s not a natural process for us, and requires a lot of effort and focus! So what I hope to do in this post is provide some easy steps that you can undertake to make your vision for 2020 a reality.

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible

Tony Robbins

Why set goals?

Goals help us to know what we’re aiming for and can enable us to live the life we truly want. They can influence our actions, prioritise what’s important and support a change in our behaviour. Achieving goals can also provide us with a sense of satisfaction, can be incredibly empowering and rewarding, and can motivate us to reach other goals. Without goals, we may be limiting ourselves to grow and develop, or worse, to fail.

The goals we set should be true to ourselves, not based on someone else’s wants for us, or be pursued as a way of showing off to others. Goals should be about approaching rather than avoiding something, and allow balance in the other areas of our lives. Our goals should be enjoyable and exciting, and not too daunting, big or unrealistic, otherwise the towel will be thrown in.

Every person’s life depends on the process of choosing goals to pursue; if you remain passive you are not going to thrive as a human being

Edwin Locke

How to set goals

Goal setting does not have to be boring. One of my favourite activities to do with clients is to ask them to imagine their best possible selves one year from now (King, 2001). This process enables people to see something in the future that doesn’t currently exist. The picture that is created is a vision of that person’s ideal future, which is then used to define the goals required to achieve that version of themselves.

A goal without a plan is just a wish

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Once your goals are in your mind, next you need to write them down and ensure that they are well-defined – if you need help here, you can refer to the SMART goal theory.

And after you have clearly outlined what you want to achieve, below are some suggested steps to follow to reach your goals:

  1. Make a plan on how you are going to accomplish your goals. What steps (big or small) do you need to take? How much time and what resources do you need? Who will keep you accountable?
  2. Execute your plan and make sure you follow through on your commitments.
  3. Regularly reflect and evaluate how you’re going – and modify your goals if you need to.
  4. And once you’ve achieved your goals, make sure you celebrate your success!

Just as 20/20 vision isn’t flawless, your 2020 goals don’t have to be perfect today. But as we approach the end of one year and the beginning of the next, I encourage you to make a start on planning what you want to achieve in the twelve months ahead!