6 Steps to Ensure 2016 is Your Best Year Ever!

6 Steps to Ensure 2016 is Your Best Year Ever!

Oh no, it’s 2016! Where did the time go?! Haven’t got around to setting your goals yet? Do you find goal setting overwhelming? Need some advice on where to start? Well, if studying goal-based strategy has taught me anything, it’s that there’s really one point we should start with: shift our mindset.

In our highly-connected and success-driven world we are bombarded with goal setting strategies everyday. There’s a lot of pressure out there right now to make sure you’re living a high-achieving, bucket-list, social-media friendly life. Then you’ve got the guilt that potentially comes from not achieving a goal, not really wanting that particular goal or giving up. The reality however is that we need goals in our lives, otherwise we just float aimlessly from one life event to another with no control and underachievement.

Step 1: Shift your Mindset – Goal Framing

For me what has been useful is framing my goals, also known as giving them a theme. I’ve found that if you’re aiming to achieve an overall theme, the goals seem to make a lot more sense. For example, if I make it a goal to make sure I am active each day to improve my health (the theme) then there are a variety of ways that can be achieved, with much less pressure that traditional goal setting (especially useful if you’re new to goal-setting) and will really help you see the value in goals. It’s all about shifting your mindset.

Step 2: The 5 Major Themes 

I see the following as the 5 major themes in life and being aware of them will help plant the seed from which the Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound goal can grow.

The 5 Themes

 

Step 3: What do you really want?

Having this framework is crucial to understanding the inherent and somewhat ironic simplicity of goal setting. I feel it is as simple as working out what you really want, making an action plan and working that plan. But a lot of people suffer from a lack of understanding of what they really want versus what they think they want and getting distracted by what they perceive as what others want of them. Effective goal setting requires some introspection.

Step 4: The Most Important Question 

So with all that in mind I’d like to share with you my personal goal setting strategy. The first step is uncover what’s important to you and get some goals on paper. Start by asking yourself the following question: “What 3 things would have to happen for 2016 to be the best year of my life?”

I first learned of this strategy via Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine and I adore the simplicity of the question. Humans love to complicate things! This question helps focus our energy and gets to the heart of what is important to us to make us feel that sense of achievement.

Step 5: The Most Important Question – Part 2

But we’re only just getting warmed up here! The next step is taking that question “What 3 things would have to happen for 2016 to be the best year of my life?” and applying it to each of the themes individually:

  1. What 3 things would have to happen in my Work/Career/Business for 2016 to be the best year ever?
  2. What 3 things would have to happen in my Personal Development for 2016 to be the best year ever?
  3. What 3 things would have to happen in my Relationships and Family Life for 2016 to be the best year ever?
  4. What 3 things would have to happen in my Personal Wellbeing for 2016 to be the best year ever?
  5. What 3 things would have to happen in my Wealth & Finances for 2016 to be the best year ever?

 

By now I’m sure you’ve got a long list of goals that will mean something to you and will ensure that 2016 is your best year ever! But there’s still one more step to discovering what is truly important to you. From that list of “things that have to happen” across the themes take a step back and pick the 3 goals that you think would have the biggest impact in helping you achieve all the others and to move forward with purpose and vision beyond 2016.

 Step 6: Now we’re ready for some action! 

Goals without an action plan are really just words on a page. Having an action plan is important because is forces you to further evaluate the true merit of a goal, it holds you accountable, it forces your brain to come up with new ways to achieve new things and gives you motivation to get started! These are the steps I use in creating a plan for my goals, so lets go through the steps along with an example. Let’s say you want to save $10,000 this year.

  1. What are my benefits from reaching this goal?
    • This will help you further uncover if you’re doing this goal for the right reason
    • if you find this step hard to complete sit back and think about why you want to achieve this goal
      • If you save $10,000 this year your benefits might be having a safety net, the sense of achievement from committing to a savings plan, peace of mind, more choices and options, the feeling that you’re on the way to financial stability, etc.

 

  1. What major road blocks/obstacles might you have to overcome?
    • There will be struggles, wins, milestones and mountains to climb
    • planning for these issues will help you move faster to recover if they are encountered and keeps you motivated. Roadblocks aren’t a surprise any more
      • Major roadblocks on the path to saving $10,000 might be lack of commitment to a saving plan, unexpected expenses such as car or medical (insurance helps here!), potentially changing your lifestyle, etc.

 

  1. Are there any skills or knowledge required to reach this goal?
    • A goal should help you grow in some way, so what new things do you need to learn to reach your goal?
      • Skills or knowledge required to save $10K might be you’ve never set a budget or an automatic savings plan before, maybe you need to understand how your online banking system really works to take advantage of automation, maybe there’s apps or technological solutions that can help you, it might be useful to understand the philosophy of money or financial independence for more motivation by reading books and subscribing to blogs that can help you, etc.

 

  1. Who might you have to work with to achieve this goal?
    • It’s OK and necessary to ask for help! Who do you need to get to your goal faster and with better results than you alone could deliver?
      • To save $10K you might need to work with your financial adviser to work out a budget, financial institution, spouse/partner, online sources and most importantly, yourself.

 

  1. What are my action items to reach this goal?
    • This is an exciting step because all of a sudden you can see your goal more clearly, it’s like the path has been illuminated and you have the confidence to move forward!
      • To save $10K you might first take stock of your current expenditure, identify things that can be cut down or identify where there is extra money, do up a budget, maybe cancel your credit card if that’s an issue for you, work out how much you can afford to put away each week, set up a bank account to hold this money (preferably one that is a bit harder to access than your average bank account too!) and set up an automatic debit when your pay comes in so savings go straight out without you noticing, etc.

 

  1. Completion date
    • Be realistic, use it to push yourself and if you don’t get there on the set date don’t stress, you will get there eventually and be a better person for it!
      • To save $10K let’s give ourselves until 31st December.

 

So there you have it, my goal-setting tips to ensure 2016 really is your best year ever. I hope you find them useful and I’d love to hear what your goals are for the coming 12 months – please feel free to share them in the comments and ask me any questions. The last thing to keep in mind is to ENJOY YOURSELF! You will grow, you will learn, you will fall down, you will get back up again and you will achieve.

One last thing is if you enjoyed this information I’d ask you to share it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else you see fit so more people can achieve great things in 2016!

Don’t forget you can join us on Facebook and Twitter to enjoy more of our thoughts on financial and lifestyle independence.

 

Sacha Loutkovsky
sacha.l@orionfg.com.au
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