By Dr. Sabrina Brandon Ricks, SBR Workplace Leadership Services
Happy New Year! January is always an exciting time to start fresh. Start new. Start something. Start now. Stop the procrastination, the excuses, the complaints, and the rationalizing as you navigate the future. Forget the old saying that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. It is a new year, and you can start with a new you in your professional and personal life – the catch – the new year must be an improved you. Here’s how:
Setting goals does not refer to any old goals like the ones you had five years ago that maybe need to be revamped altogether. This means think bigger and go for goals you had not considered before. You may not have thought you could reach these goals before. Says who? No one is stopping you but YOU. Do you want to go back to school but you are 60 years old? Who says you can’t? Do you want to launch a new business, but you have few business skills? Who says you can’t? This is the time to get serious, disciplined, work hard, don’t give up, and reach dreams that you never before thought were attainable. They are!
An Action Plan and Organization
In order to reach goals, you need to create a way to get there. Sit down and write a plan. Create a vision, create steps, list people who need to me involved, determine mentors or guides, list all goals (short and long-term), and start taking the steps you need to in order to reach your goals. There are no excuses. Ensure these are SMART goals, which have been identified by many researchers as specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. For example, your goal may be, “I am going to go back to ______ college starting in January to study accounting starting with two classes and plan to have a GPA of 3.8 by the end of my first semester in May of 2023.” This would be a phenomenal first step to reaching a short-term goal. You will be so much more motivated to make this goal a reality if it is SMART.
What excites you about your goals and plans? It is helpful if you motivation is something visual and tangible such as a photo. If your goals have to do with obtaining a certain career, find something meaningful pertaining to that career and have it somewhere in your home where you can see it daily, so it motivates to keep going. Inevitably, there will be days that you feel demotivated or as though you are dragging – but when you look at the tangible item you selected to motivate you, you will get excited all over again and regain the energy to keep going for that day.
It can be tempting to start off great and then deflate as time goes on. Do not allow this to happen. Schedule weekly, monthly, or quarterly check-ins to evaluate how you are doing. Check to see if there are any adjustments that need to be made to your goals to ensure they are SMART. It would be best for you to edit your goal than to give up on it. For example, if you had hoped to lose 20 pounds by June and by April, you are only down 5, then an adjustment to losing 10 pounds is still leading you on the right track. Otherwise, if you give up, you are back to square one. This does not benefit you in any way.
Finally, it is often helpful to have a friend, family member, or coworker work alongside you to reach goals or simply motivate you as you work alone towards a goal. You are more likely to stick to your plan if you have to check in with someone else for an update. This must be someone you trust and who you feel has your best intentions at heart. This person should also be able to provide you with constructive criticism that you trust and be supportive of the new you that you are seeking to become.
For more details on how to reach goals, contact SBR Workplace Leadership Services. They offer life coaching as well as a plethora of additional sources. There are exciting plans for SBR in the 2023 year. Feel free to subscribe to the page to stay up to date on offerings and events. Visit the website for details. Again, have an amazing, fruitful, and productive 2023!