Setting Goals & a Shaky Start

A person drawing and pointing at a Dream Big, Set Goals, Take Action chalk illustration

I posted on New Year’s Day about resolutions. I hope you’re doing all right on your resolutions so far! I wanted to post a bit today about setting goals for yourself as I find that these can really help with keeping resolutions.

No matter what your goal, whether it’s to stop smoking or to learn to play the guitar, you need to plan and you need to give yourself measuring points. Having never had to give up smoking, I’m not really qualified to help there (but if you’re planning to, head here!) so let’s say your goal is to learn the guitar. So unless you’re a genius, there’s no point in saying you’ll be Mark Tremonti by the end of the year (and if you are a genius, I hate you) so start small. A more realistic goal is perhaps to learn a new chord a week and practise progressions between the ones you’ve learnt. And then of course you can practise different strumming rhythms and play your new chords to them. Before you know it, you’ll be able to play a whole song!

Goal Setting QuoteIt’s worth pointing out here that sharing goals is a great way to help you achieve them. I once worked a job where sharing your goals was career suicide – saying you wanted something meant some cretin with too much time on their hands would do everything they could to stop that happening. Hopefully, none of you work in a similar job (and if you do, perhaps your goal should be to find a new job!) and luckily for me, I now work in a much more healthy environment. So, a few months ago I happened to mention that I wanted to improve my maths and do more analytical work in my job with a view to becoming an actual analyst. I say ‘happened to mention’ – it really was just that, a chance chat at a conference with my boss who I rarely see in person as I’m in the satellite office. By the end of our very short conversation, she had introduced me to an analyst who agreed to meet me to discuss routes into the profession. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. And whilst this is toe curlingly awkward sometimes, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without asking someone whose blog I read to be my business mentor (and who is now a friend); I also probably wouldn’t have made the move from London to Leeds.

And, even better, if people know about your goals, you’re accountable. And we all need that sometimes, don’t we? Ever told a colleague that you’re cutting back on biscuits only to be gagging for one at eleven? Yes? Well, that colleague may have gently reminded you that you were cutting down on sugar and that may have stopped you eating that biscuit. Telling someone you’re running a 5K race in July will make sacking off that run much more difficult, because then you’ve got to deal with other people knowing you’re not doing the race.

Goal Setting Make Things HappenIt’s also worth mentioning that it’s not the end of the world if you fall behind on goals. After three weeks of illness, I’m already behind with my goals for the new year. But, there’s still another 51 weeks of the year to go, so I’ve not failed yet! You need to look after yourself to succeed, and burning the candle at both ends leads to nothing but an early bed time.

If you’ve got a genuine reason, like you’ve hurt yourself or discover you don’t like playing guitar, that’s fine! But sometimes we all need a little help with keeping to our goals. So, let’s tell each other shall we, and help each other out. One of my goals is to learn Spanish and be able to have a simple conversation by June. Come on then; what are yours?


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