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11 Expert Tips on How to Set Life- and Business-Changing Goals for the New Year

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Forbes Article by  Adelaide Lancaster 

Like many entrepreneurs at this time of year, I’ve been spending a good amount of time reflecting on this last year’s progress and thinking about what I’d like to achieve in the coming year. Although I’ve never been one for resolutions (too restrictive and unpleasant), I love making lists of goals. They often include a blend of personal and professional hopes and ambitions and have been helpful in clarifying my priorities for the year ahead.

As I began to think about what I’d like 2015* to have in store for me, I found myself wondering about the goal setting process. What makes for a good goal? Yes we’ve all heard about the SMART goal moniker, but besides that what should we know? How is it best to approach opportunities for action and change? I decided to ask some of the best coaches I know to weigh in on how they help their clients to get the most out of the goal setting process. Their advice made me even more eager and excited. Here’s what they had to say:

Get in the Right Mood:

1. Begin in a positive and confident frame of mind:

I encourage clients to put themselves in the right frame of mind before goal setting.  Whether it be working out, going to your favorite work space, read an inspiring book and/or reviewing recent successful projects or wins, do something that will open your mind up to think creatively and confidently about the future and what is possible for you.

Jennifer Bezoza, Executive Coach and Organizational Development Consultant

 

2. Start from neutral:

Take the ‘should’ out of goal-setting. Goals fueled by guilt and shame are less likely to be successful. By removing emotional reactions from any goal – personal or company-wide – you can develop your game plan with a clear and open mind. Reframe goals by stating what you want to accomplish instead of what you feel badly for not having done already.

Jennifer Edwards, change management consultant and founding partner at Edwards & Skybetter LLC.

 

3. Don’t Settle for Less Than Wildly Inspiring:

The place to start is to write up a one-page, year-long vision statement containing very specific, wildly inspiring goals for the top three to four areas of your life on which you want to focus on for the year.  This document must reflect what I call “the goosebump factor”: if you are not stretching your vision for the year to the point where your goals give you goosebumps, put a very broad smile on your face and make you thrilled at the thought of living your life, you haven’t gone far enough.  That level of inspiration is necessary to stay on track to executing your vision over the course of the entire year.

Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin, Executive Consultant and CEO ECM Executive Consulting

4. Pay Tribute to the Many Facets of Your Life:

Reflect on your true priorities. To do lists can get really long, and what makes it to the top doesn’t always mean it matters the most. Take a few minutes to consider your major goals in the most important parts of your life. With my clients I talk about the 5 ps (Parenting, Partnership, Personal, Pay and Professional), and help them focus on their goals in each area. Consider each category and ask yourself, “Am I getting to what really matters to me?”

Rachael Ellison, coach, organizational development consultant and founder REworking Parents

 

5. Pick a Theme:

In addition to specific goals for the year, I like to pick a theme.  In 2011, my theme was Foundation (i.e., getting more solid), and my specific goals were to get healthier (I worked with a personal trainer, tried gyrotonic and acupuncture for the first time, etc) and to put more structure and systems in my business.  In 2012, my theme is Joy b/c I had a super hectic 2011 and felt like I took on too much.  I wanted a theme that would remind me to have fun.  A vivid theme acts as a compass when you make decisions about specific goals or strategies to ensure they are aligned with how you’re feeling overall.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine, career coach, author, and partner atSixFigureStart

 

6. Opt for Guidelines Not Rules:

Avoid creating hard and fast rules when it comes to setting action steps for your goals.  Rules are by their nature engineered to be broken.  All too often clients abandon goals because they set a steadfast rule that they were too tempted to break early in the process.  A quickly broken rule and the subsequent fall out can be all the reason someone needs to say farewell to a goal. Instead, consider adopting guidelines or policies.  For example, instead of saying “no frivolous purchases” soften it too “if I want to buy something frivolous, I will wait 48 hours. If I still want it after 48 hours, I can buy it.”

Diane Costigan, Executive, Career, and Life Coach and Senior Career Advisor with Shannon & Manch LLP.

 

7. Scale Back by 20% & Get Constructively Addicted:

Once you identify a goal, determine action steps and assign metrics for measurement, scale it all back by 20%–particularly if you are an overachiever. For example, if your goal is to be totally debt free by year-end and you have a considerable amount of debt, scale it back to “decrease debt by 80%”. If an action step to your fitness goal is to go to the gym 5 times a week and you currently go zero times, readjust to a more realistic number like 2-3 times. People can get energized and excited at the beginning of the goal setting process only to lose steam when they feel it’s more of a burden or an obligation.  Better to set the bar slightly lower, exceed your expectations and get addicted to your success. There’s always room to add and grow on to goals which can feel empowering–sliding backwards on your own expectations can be dispiriting.

Diane Costigan, Executive, Career, and Life Coach and Senior Career Advisor with Shannon & Manch LLP.

 

8. Make Sure Your Goals “Line Up”:

What I do as a coach is simply encourage people to look deeply at their own internal value system to see if priorities line up properly. Are the things you are striving for in line with your own deepest held values? Are you being who you want to be, doing what you always wanted to do? Be honest. Because if your compass is off by even a few degrees, then every step you take gets you further away from where you really want to go.

Ann Mehl, Executive Coach

9. Factor In Your Resistance and “Level of Readiness”:

It’s important to evaluate the goals from the perspective of your readiness for change. Sometimes we write out and articulate goals based on what we feel we should do, and don’t evaluate our real readiness/desire to make it happen.  A relevant model is the transtheoretical model for change, which talks about the individual stages of change.  For example, someone in the “contemplation stage” may articulate a goal, which they are not quite ready to focus on and take action against. It’s important to be realistic with oneself about where you are in wanting to really take action against particular goals.

 

Jennifer Bezoza, Executive Coach and Organizational Development Consultant.

10. Consider What You Will STOP doing:

If you’re setting a goal that involves doing a new activity (going to the gym, writing an article, taking a dance class) consider what you’re going to STOP doing in order to make room for the time you’ll need. (I’m going to STOP watching “Mad Men” marathons for hours at a time; I’m going to STOP online shopping on a regular basis).

Yael SiviManaging Partner of Collaborative Coaching

 

11. If Necessary, Sweeten the Deal!:

If you’re trying to take on a new goal/activity that you find less-than-exciting but necessary, find a way to sweeten the deal as a way to convince yourself to do it. (For instance, years ago I realized that I found paying bills utterly boring and as a result I would procrastinate it and sometimes would pay bills late as a result. I thought of what I loved to do—go to a café and enjoy a latte—so I decided I would combine activities. For months, I took myself out for a latte and brought all my bills, checkbook, and stamps with me (I date myself here!) and ended up paying bills and enjoyed some downtime with myself

Yael Sivi, Managing Partner of Collaborative Coaching

 

Adelaide Lancaster is an entrepreneur, consultant, speaker and co-author of The Big Enough Company: Creating a business that works for you (Portfolio/Penguin). She is also the co-founder of In Good Company Workplaces, a first-of-its-kind community, learning center and co-working space for women entrepreneurs in New York City. She is also a contributor to The Huffington Post and a columnist for The Daily Muse. She lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and daughter.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/thebigenoughcompany/2011/12/15/11-expert-tips-on-how-to-set-life-and-business-changing-goals-for-the-new-year/

 

We at PCI Pest Control hope you have enjoyed this article! Send us a message or leave us a comment and let us know what you thought! What are some tools you use for goal setting? Good luck planning for 2015 from all of us here at PCI Pest Control- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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