4 Things You Can Do to Achieve Your Goals This Year

It’s now March. A couple of months ago you might have been excited and ready to welcome the year with brand new audacious goals. This year, you promised yourself, was going to be different. This would be the banner year where you will make great strides in your career, health and/or relationships. You have made all intentions that this will be the year when you finally (insert goal here).

As we are capping off the first quarter of the year, it’s time to pause and check on our status. How are we doing?  Have we achieved some small wins? Are we still on track towards achieving our goals?

Chances are, you might have veered off your intended plan or worse you have forgotten about your goals altogether.

Or you may have intended to work on those goals but somewhere along the way you just lost the drive. Or realized just now that time passed by, without you really getting into the nitty-gritty.

I can totally relate. I have been in this situation a couple of times in the past.

The stats are bleak, 4 out 5 people would have already missed their New Year’s Resolution by February according to a study. And only 8% would be able to fulfill their goals this year.

The goods news is the year is not over yet so there is still some time to revisit those goals.  Here are some of the adjustments you can do to get you back on track.


  1. Re-align your goals

 Goals ultimately fail if they do not resonate with you. Are the goals that you’ve set actually the ones you deem important? Forget what the others would want you to achieve. In your mind and in your heart what are the things that you truly want to focus on?

 In this case you may need to do some form of introspection. The following questions may help.

  • What do I really want to do with my life? 

  • Are the goals I am setting aligned with my personal mission? 

  • Are they reflective of the values I embrace? For example if family time is a factor that you would really like to work, are there any of those goals set that are aimed towards those?  

 It may require seeing yourself from a long-term perspective. From your long-term vision you can work on a one-year plan that is aligned to your overall plan. This exercise ideally should have been done in December. But in case you haven’t, there is no rule that prevents you from having a look at your Personal Wheel during this time of the year.

 A personal wheel provides a snapshot of the different facets of your life such as Health, Career, Finances, Recreation, Spirituality. Are you focusing on the right areas of your life?

 Each factor is assessed on a scale of 1 to 10. Any areas that are low or below one’s desired level can provide insight to the user on which life aspect he might want to focus for the year.

 Getting a low score in Health? Perhaps you might want to head back to the gym. Feeling stagnant in your career? Perhaps you may want to enroll in a new course on Management.

 Whatever goals come out it should be aligned to your overall game plan. Alignment will give you the needed motivation when the going gets tough.


2. Make your goals SMART

 Goals fraught with ambiguities will never see its fruition. You need to translate those intentions into SMART goals.

 SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Relevant, Time-Bound

 “Embrace a healthy lifestyle” is a noble attempt but unless you are specific this is doomed for failure. What areas would you like to cover? Alcohol intake? Meal quality? The number of gym sessions?

 You also need to make your goals measurable. Anything that cannot be measured is subject to misunderstanding. You will not know whether it has been achieved or not. Worse you may even delude yourself into thinking you achieved something when in fact you haven’t. Instead of saying “Reduce weight” you may want to give it some quantifiers like “Reduce from 180 lbs to 160 lbs.

 Action-oriented goals always start with active verbs. Instead of saying “Be a loving husband” you may want to say “Spend at least 3 hours per week for time out with my wife”.

 Of course the goal has to be realistic. One way to check if something you intend to do is realistic is if someone has already done under the same circumstances.

 Publishing a best-selling book might be an unrealistic goal for now. However “Publishing a book” could be a more attainable shot.

 And of course set yourself a deadline by making the goal time-bound. By what time of the year are you expected to achieve it? The normal default is to set the deadline around December. However it would be advisable to aim for something earlier like October so that you have a buffer time to catch up in case there will be delays.


3. Break down goals into concrete milestones 

 It is good if we have lofty goals that would require us to get out of our comfort zone. But not breaking it down into sizeable chunks would create resistance. You would lose interest at the onset because it just can become overwhelming. How would you know where to start?

 Write down the specific steps to reach that goal. For example if you like to reach B1 level in Spanish, it could require the following steps;

  • Conduct a baseline test to check your current level. 

  • Identify the areas of improvement 

  • Set a daily schedule to work on the details 

 Breaking down your goal also provides an additional perspective whether the goal is in fact realistic to begin with.

 As a rule of thumb, it is almost always a good start to break down a goal into 3 milestones. Want to publish a book? You may want to consider the following 3 milestones as a start

  • Study best practices in book-writing
  • Write the first draft
  • Contact a publisher

4. Have a regular mechanism for review. 

 In this age of distraction (especially facebook notifications), it is always easy to lose sight of the big picture.

 If you are self-disciplined, you can establish a rigorous review mechanism - daily, weekly and monthly. It can be done but it would require you to constantly play the tough role of being the project manager.

 If you’re like me, the type who would need an external source to establish a rhythm of review, a Mastermind group can help. A Mastermind group is nothing but a team of people who have gathered to help one another. Think of it as a peer-to-peer mentoring group.

 The group kicks off the year by sharing their individual goals. Then they meet regularly (online or face-to-face, ideally once a month to check on each one’s status). A mastermind group provides support, encouragement and perspective. It also provides a form of healthy peer pressure. It’s human nature that no one wants to be left behind so if you see your peers moving along, it creates a positive form of competition, and prods you to do better. In this sense, it ramps up the accountability on your part.

 The feedback mechanism will let you know if you are on track. You can then decide whether to continue or tweak your ways of working.

 If there is no Mastermind group you may want to consider starting one.

 There’s no panacea for achieving your goals. What may work for some may note work for you.  But hopefully the four steps mentioned can help you back on track.

 As the saying goes “You can never go back and make a brand new start. But you can always start now and make a brand new end.”

 May the remainder of 2019 be awesome for you.


(photo by Richard Feix/Unsplash)


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