Whether it's a New Year's resolution or a business goal, you need to ensure that you make them achievable but aspirational. If it doesn't stretch you then why bother? When I set goals I always use the following 3 point formula...
1) Decide what is is you want.
2) Establish what the cost will be.
And 3) Resolve to pay the price.
So let's explore each stage a little further.
Stage 1 - Deciding what you want. Easy isn't it? Or is it? Surely you just sit back and daydream about what you want to achieve. A new house or car, a new job or even a new you but with a few less lbs? But when I follow this process I go a little further. It's not just a new car, it's a Range Rover Evoke 2.2 diesel 5-door 2wd in black with privacy glass and black interior trim.
I could continue to detail the other options but I think you get the point. The devil's in the detail. See your objective in your minds eye, imagine yourself owning it. How does it make you feel? What would it be like living with your achievement? Your goal is likely to be a challenge and you will probably need to make sacrifices to get there so this vision of success needs to motivate you when you're at a low ebb and pull you through the seemingly insurmountable obstacles.For my goal, I'd even be cheeky enough to arrange a test drive. Having something, even for the briefest of moments and then having to give it back can be painful and could just be enough of a motivator to make you do what it takes to have it again but a little more permanently.
Stage 2 - Establishing the cost. And this isn't just the monetary cost. Keeping with my previous example, the amount of money I'll have to part with will be around £35k (or circa £450 per month on a lease) so in itself that's a significant challenge but that's not the only price I'll have to pay. There's the sacrifices I'll have to make like making do with my current car for longer than I wanted and giving up some treats like regular trips to the premium coffee shops, scaling back on holiday plans, putting in extra hours on my projects, etc. I may even need to learn some new skills in order to make my goal a reality. Make sure you think it all through here and establish all the costs. Don't shortchange your dream by ignoring costs as it'll cause an avoidable obstacle in your way. If you're goal is to start up a business but your budget does not allow for any marketing then how are you going to win new customers? If you have a small budget then scale your goals or source more funding as it's better to build a solid foundation more slowly and gradually build from there.
This stage is also a way of sorting and filtering goals. It may be that once the actual cost has been established you realise that the ultimate achievement isn't worth the cost. Maybe spending £35k on a car and forcing my family to make do with a tiny ramshackle home isn't a price worth paying and you find a new goal.
And Stage 3 - Resolving to pay the price. It does exactly what it says. This stage is the bones of the plan to achieve your goal. You've dreamed the dream in stage 1 and worked out whether the cost is worth paying for all stakeholders (family, friends, colleagues, etc) in stage 2 so now you're working out how you're going to make it happen. What you need to do and when you're going to do it. Again, realism is the key. If you have to work 40+-hours per week in your job to pay the bills, commute, have 8-hours sleep per night then you've already committed over 100 hours of your weekly budget of 168 before you factor in family, friends and relaxation time. So a plan requires that you spend another 40-60 hours per week working towards your goal isn't going to happen. Be realistic. You're body needs downtime to function properly and your family needs you to be involved and engaged with them.
I once read that the brain is the biggest consumer of glucose and has an optimum performance period of 60-90 minutes so why not factor this into your plan? Also, if the only time you have available each day is 2-hours before you go to bed then this period for brain function can be significantly reduced. Is your goal really worth risking burnout for?
Whatever goals you set yourself for the New Year and whatever system you use to set them and work out the plan remember thwhat Napolean Hill said - “The primary reason for failure is that people do not develop new plans to replace those plans that didn’t work.”
Here's to your happy and prosperous New Year.