How many times have you heard the eye-roll-inducing ‘new year, new me’, from family and friends? Or, worse still, how many times have you said it yourself? This article aims to teach you how to set real, achievable goals, how to hold yourself accountable, and reach them.
“Everyone buys books, few ever read them.
Everyone wants growth, few accept pain.
Everyone wants to be happier, few ever change.
Intention is nothing without action.”
– Steven Bartlett – Happy Sexy Millionaire
This may surprise you, but, according to research, only 8% of people who set New Year’s resolutions go on to achieve them. That 8% often reported higher levels of engagement at work, and in their personal lives; as well as tending to succeed more than their peers. So how can you be one of the 8%?
It all starts with goals. Goals help to keep us on track, give us something to aim for, and help us drive results. Reframing the way you approach your goals, can help you accomplish everything you want to this year.
Though there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to manage your goals. When it comes to setting them, most of us think of a simple statement in our mind e.g. “I want to get promoted”, and that’s where it stops. Without specific intention or detail attached to the goal, it’s easier to let things slip. Promoted to what? By when? What will I need to get there?
Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?
-Katy Perry – Firework
This year, to avoid that all too familiar feeling of drifting through life, not achieving what you want, make your goals work for you, by making them FAST.
The FAST Framework
FAST is a framework that gets us to think more practically about our goals and manage them in a way that ensures they can be achieved. Your goals should be frequently discussed, ambitious, specific, and transparent.
Write down your goals and then talk about them often, with a variety of people, such as colleagues, friends, and family. Writing something down makes it feel more formal, and you’re more likely to commit to it. Discussing them regularly will keep you focused, force you to review your progress so far, and highlight if you need to make any changes to your plans in order to achieve them.
If a goal is too easy, you’re unlikely to make the effort to achieve it. If a goal is too hard, the same applies. There’s a reason you feel better after performing well during a difficult day at work than performing well during an easy day at work: your brain is hard-wired to enjoy the feeling of achieving something difficult. The key is finding that sweet spot, where something is difficult enough that you care about it, but not so impossible to achieve that you’re not motivated by it. If you have a huge goal, it may be best to plan a path of smaller, more achievable goals that will help you get to where you want to go overall.
To stand any chance of achieving a goal, you’ve got to have a plan. With any good plan comes specifics. What exactly do you want to achieve? How will you achieve it? When will you achieve it? Why do you even want to? Be totally clear on what you’re expecting of yourself, so you can identify if you’re falling short and take the necessary steps to fix it.
The single biggest difference you see between those who achieve their goals, and those who don’t, is how transparent they are. Most of us keep our goals to ourselves, so it’s easy for us to rationalise why we’re not achieving them. By making your goals transparent and sharing them with others, you’re holding yourself accountable to more than just you. Build a network of supporters who you can share goals with, and swap tips, and see how that peer pressure and healthy competition drives you to succeed.
As we said, there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to manage your goals. But ultimately, it always starts with you. This year, grab a pen, start making your goals FAST, and watch as 2023 unfolds as your best year yet.
Want to learn more about achieving your goals?
Read: Will It Make the Boat Go Faster? – Harriet Beveridge and Ben Hunt-Davis MBE
Watch: Setting Goals with Rio Ferdinand (6mins)
Listen: Your Brilliant Best – Goals with Cath Bishop and Adrienne Herbert (31 mins)