YOU'RE GOING TO OWN 2017
1. Choose only 1 – 2 top goals, and focus on those
A fresh new year is about to start! I’ll totally be able to find a new job, write two books, train for a marathon, build an addition to my house, and start a side business selling drones on Amazon.com that’ll generate thousands of dollars of passive income each month! (It’s December and I’m under the influence of a lot of sugar!)
Nope. The key to accomplishment is prioritization and focus. Choose one or two things that would make the biggest difference to your life if you can accomplish them, and leave it at that. If you finish them by June, then great. Add more. If not, stay focused.
2. Understand why the goal is important to you
In life, we choose to do the things that feel best to us. In the short term, that might mean eating a box of peppermint truffles and spending an hour on Facebook. But accomplishing our long term goals will also make us feel great, and we can harness that anticipated great feeling to help us make different choices in the present.
At a holiday party the other day, I was talking to a woman who cut refined sugar out of her diet. She explained that it was easier than she expected it to be, because every time she was met with temptation, she thought about how good her body feels when she doesn’t eat sugar.
Take some time to imagine and write down the outcome you want, and how it will make you feel.
3. Identify the potential obstacles
Maybe your number one goal for 2017 is to get a new job and you know that networking is the best way to do it, but you hate networking. So you send out a few resumes online, get discouraged, and then put it off until next month…and the next…and then oh crap, it’s already November, and no one’s hiring now!
Make a list of what tends to get in your way. When we can identify what gets in our way, we can do something about it.
4. Plan how you’ll circumnavigate your obstacles
If you know that your job search time tends to get eaten up by web-surfing, make a plan to combat your own worst instincts. For the time-suckage of web surfing, I’m a huge fan of apps like “Freedom” and “Self-Control.” Each day, you can set the app to block you out of your favorite sites. You’ll have no choice but to get to work on your real priority.
Another great tool is to make an “if / when / then” plan. “If / when I find a job online I want to apply for, I will search through my network on LinkedIn to see if there’s anyone I know who can connect me with someone in that company, rather than blindly sending over my resume.”
5. Write your goals in an enabling format
Using all of the above, re-write your top 1 or 2 goals in a way that will enable you to get them done. For example:
“In 2017, I want to get a new job that’s closer to home because having a shorter commute will open up time to spend in my art studio. When I feel tempted to look at Facebook, I will instead send one email to someone in my network, telling them I want to work for a company in the Pasadena area and asking if they know—and can connect me—with anyone who works for a great company there.”
6. Post your goals where you’ll see them every day
To stay focused and keep your priorities top-of-mind, post your goals somewhere you’ll see them every day. An image of them can become the wallpaper on your phone. Put a post-it note on your bathroom mirror. Make a vision board and hang it over your desk. Whatever works for you—just make sure you’re constantly reminded.