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Goal Setting for 2016: Choosing Your Goals

On Monday, I talked about preparing for goal setting for the New Year, specifically, how to:

1. Set your intention for 2016.

2. Determine desired emotions for the coming year.

3. Identify your personal core values.

4. Spot the difference between push goals and pull goals.

If you missed that post, it’s worth going back and reading it before going any further with this one. Click HERE for a refresher.

If you’re ready, let’s proceed. Putting aside any "shoulds", push goals or resolutions you feel you ought to be setting, what goals do you really want for yourself for the new year? I mean really really? What pulls you like nothing else?

Start by choosing one of your pull goals. Let’s say for examply you want to go to Tahiti this year. Great. Let’s go through the goal checklist to make sure that this is something that you really want and that can actually happen.

  1. Does it reflect your intention for the year? If yes, continue. If no, go back and set a different goal.

  2. Will it bring about at least one of your desired emotions? If yes, continue. If no, go back and set a different goal.

  3. Is it aligned with your personal core values? If yes, continue. If no, go back and set a different goal.

  4. Is it a SMART goal?

Specific – This is the who, what, where, when and how of your goal. A trip to Tahiti with your partner for three weeks in April by plane fits the definition of specific.

Measurable – How will you know once you’ve achieved it? You'll know when you're sitting on those white sandy beaches that you've reached your goal.

Attainable – Can you get the time off work? Can your partner? Can you afford it? Are you able to do everything you need to in order to make this happen?

Relevant – Is it relevant to where your life is right now? Maybe you can’t make it to Tahiti for three weeks, maybe you can only go for two. Or maybe one week in Mexico is more realistic, and Tahiti is more likely to happen in two or three years. Or perhaps you'd be happier backpacking across the Andes. Be honest with yourself.

Time-bound/based – Is now the right time to set this goal? Can you make it happen in the time frame you want (eg. in 2016)? Make sure you set a deadline for the goal.

Setting a goal to go to Tahiti for three weeks in April 2016 is a SMART goal, as long as it is possible financially and time-wise.

Setting a goal to "feel better" in 2016 is not a SMART goal because it’s vague and not measurable. Whether it is attainable or realistic is unknown because you haven’t defined was it is exactly that you want to have happen.

Is your goal SMART? If yes, awesome! You’ve set your first goal for 2016. If no, go back and set a different goal.

Go through this process for each of your 2016 goals and write them down! Once you're finished, you're going to have a list of some pretty exciting and achievable goals set for yourself!

One last point – avoid getting too excited and setting a whole pile of goals. Sometimes less is more. I often have to talk clients down because they set too many goals, become overwhelmed and then don’t pursue any of them. I recommend setting one or two big ones and putting your energy towards those. If you reach those goals quickly, you can always set more.

Congratulations! You now have all the tools you need to set your 2016 goals. Remember to go for the pull goals that excite you and are aligned with your intention, desired feelings and personal core values. And as always, have fun with it!

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