There’s something about the turning of a new year which makes us think about all we’ve accomplished last year before swinging our attention to everything we want to do or achieve over the year ahead.

Although many people admit to breaking their New year’s Resolutions before they even get to the end of January, the process of setting goals can be really useful on a personal level and vitally important when it comes to business matters.

When setting goals, we create a kind of vision of where we want to be and then, if we can keep those goals in mind, it really makes us strive to achieve them – the phrase ‘eyes on the prize’ sums it up really well.

Whether that relates to losing weight, saving money, starting a new business or taking an existing business to a new level, the crucial part of goal setting is sticking to them!

So, if you’re making plans for 2020, here’s five tips on how to set and stick to your goals:

1. Avoid overwhelming yourself

Person sitting with a mountain of crumpled paper in front of themA big mistake that many people make is setting way too many goals or coming up with something that sounds great but is just unrealistic. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of ambition, however if you set too many goals, you’ll wind up being pulled in different directions or, if your vision is overly ambitious, you’ll most likely end up feeling disappointed when it proves to be unachievable. Instead, decide on one main goal that you can gradually work towards over the next 12 months. Be really specific about what you’re aiming for and why you want to do it, then mentally give it a reality check. Ask yourself questions like whether it’s realistic, is the timescale possible and will you need any help? Write it all down so that it feels real and then set a series of mini-goals that will help you reach your target in realistically-timed stages (e.g. a monthly ‘to do’ list). We do this when project planning any piece of work in the construction sector and the general recipe for success is to be specific, be realistic and be organised.

2. Get started

Someone's feet on a road with an arrow going forwardSetting a goal is one thing but your vision is never going to happen unless you actually start working on it. Another reason why many people fail to achieve their goals, however, is a habit known as ‘productive avoidance’.

We know what we want to achieve but we also know it’s going to take considerable effort to get there, so what do we do? Put off the process of getting started and look for anything and everything else we could do instead – seemingly being ‘productive’ but avoiding what’s most important!

If you’ve got your target in mind and have created the steps you need to follow to reach it, just get started on step 1. Think about it, if you’re timescale is a period of 12 months, getting the ball rolling sooner rather than later means you’ll simply have more time in which to work on your goal. As a result there will be greater chance of it remaining realistic and achievable.

3. Spread the word

Man with a megaphoneWhen you think of family, friends or work colleagues, do you know what any of their life or work goals are?In most cases, the answer would probably be ‘no’ and that’s because many people  avoid telling others what their goals are, either because it seems boastful or because secrecy means avoiding any feelings of shame or guilt if things don’t quite go to plan.Talking to people about your goals, however, can be really motivating. Having people who can be there to support and encourage you is particularly helpful when things get tough.They may also help by offering advice or a second opinion at critical points and be part of the celebrations when your goals or mini-goals are achieved. Besides, the simple fact that you’ve told someone what you’re trying to do will really focus the mind on actually doing it!

4. Measure your progress

Results written in scrabble blocksIf you want to be sure of sticking to your goals, it’s really important that you track and evaluate your progress along the way. Writing down all that you’ve accomplished at the end of each month will help you see exactly how far you’ve come and motivate you to keep going. It can also be really useful in helping you to identify whether the specific activities and effort you’re putting in are actually helping you with your goals or not.

These days, there are many goal setting and tracking apps which you can use on your phone or tablet for everything from weight loss to business achievements. Alternatively, you might choose to log everything on a spreadsheet or simply keep notes in a journal.

Whatever method you choose, be honest with what you write, including both successes and failures. And, if you find you’re not hitting your targets as well or as quickly as you hoped, don’t beat yourself up about it! Accept that you may have made some mistakes (we all do), dust yourself down and see what you can learn from it – maybe you just need to work a bit harder or smarter next month, adapt your approach or seek expert help.

5. Celebrate success

Finally, when you know you’re doing well, remember to celebrate. Perhaps that means a well-deserved extravagance when you reach your half-way point or a series of smaller treats when each mini-goal is achieved. Tell the people who have been supporting you about your success so far. They’ll be proud of you and will definitely want to be part of any celebration you’ve got planned! We often feel we’re ‘too busy’ to stop and give ourselves a pat on the back, but recognising and rewarding yourself for your achievements provides great motivation, so find the time.

Bring on 2020

Aside from those people who are weirdly happy to amble through life without thinking too much about where their path is leading, most of us have dreams or ambitions and need to set goals and milestones if we are to have any chance of achieving them. Goals can be large or small, take a month or year to reach, and can be either personal or business related (or both).

Whatever yours are, with a clear focus, commitment and hard work, they can be achieved. Set specific goals and picture the end result in your mind, use your organisational skills to break that goal down into realistic segments, understand the journey you need to take to reach each milestone, enlist the  support of people around you, keep track of progress and above all, get started!

Sheriff Construction has already set some ambitious goals for 2020 and we’ll be sharing more about these with our teams and blog-readers over the coming weeks. With the continued support of our team, we know that these and other goals are all achievable.

Our ethos is this: When we want something to happen, we make it happen!

OVER TO YOU: What are your goals for 2020? Remember it’s a real motivating factor if you tell someone about it, so share your goals with us over on Facebook and we’ll be there to support you!


Image source: Freepik