The New Year is nearly upon us, and a new year means setting goals! Over the past 15 years I’ve completed medical school, trained in Plastic Surgery, and set up my own practice. So I’ve got quite a bit of experience with setting goals and completing them. But this process has really gelled for me over the past couple of years, and today I’m going to share with you the tips I found most helpful for setting goals and completing them.
Choose one goal.
Or maybe two at the very most. I know that it’s tempting to make several goals. I’ve even heard advice to choose a personal goal, professional goal, spiritual goal etc. But I’ve found that focusing on a single goal is like magic. You have a finite amount of time, willpower, and energy. And the more you try to accomplish, the thinner those resources are spread. Focus all that energy in one place and you’ll see bigger results.
Make your goal measurable.
For example, say you want to get stronger. That’s a great goal, but how do you know when you’ve achieved it? Setting a goal of being able to do 10 pushups is much clearer. Or what if you want to spend more time with your friends? Setting a goal of meeting with a friend two times a month for dinner or lunch has a clear end point, so you’ll know when you’ve met the goal.
Add a timeline for completion.
Without a deadline, it’s very easy to push things into the future. You may need to adjust your deadline to account for the real world (e.g. you have a weight loss goal with a deadline, but come down with the flu for two weeks). But a goal without any sort of timeline just doesn’t hold you accountable in the same way having a finite deadline does.
Write out the actions you must take to accomplish your goal.
If your goal is to grow your business, these steps might include attending networking events, improving your website, or increasing your presence on social media. If your goal is to run a half marathon, these steps would include starting with shorter training runs and adding in long runs once a week. Break each action down into its component parts until you have a large list of individual tasks. So attending networking events may entail 1) doing an internet search for events in your area. 2) signing up. 3) Actually attending the event. As you break your goal down into individual action steps you may need to go back and adjust your timeline.
Schedule those action steps into your calendar.
If my goal is to increase my social media presence this year, I need to make time each week to achieve the tasks needed to complete that (e.g. learn more about Instagram, or take an online workshop to increase Facebook followers). When the time comes around to do what you scheduled, do it even if you don’t feel like it. The more you build the habit of doing things when you’ve scheduled them, the easier it becomes to hold yourself accountable.
The bonus step – celebrate when you achieve your goal!
So often we make vague promises to ourselves, and start off strong only to lose motivation over time. But to actually set goals and achieve them requires that you focus your energy on a single clearly-defined goal, then break things down into manageable parts.
My goal this year is to grow my medical practice, so I can help more women look and feel amazing. Click on over to learn more about what I do. And I’d love to hear your goals in the comments!
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Dr. Greer is a plastic surgeon in Cleveland, Ohio. Her passion is helping moms regain their confidence by getting rid of sagginess, wrinkles, and stubborn fat using surgery, laser, Botox and fillers. Check out her website for more information, or to download a FREE copy of “The Busy Mom’s Guide to Plastic Surgery.“