If You Prioritize Your 2018 Goals This Way, You’ll Reach Every Single One of Them

Goals only get achieved when you prioritize them the right way.

Staff Writer

I am obsessive about the goals I set.

Each year, right around Thanksgiving, I start reflecting. I can’t help it. Growing up in the Midwest, this is the time of year when the cold settles in, the trees turn colors, and then bare. The summer tempo of downtown Chicago comes to a screeching halt. Everyone throws their winter coats and hats on and prepares for the long haul ahead–winter is coming.

This is the time of year when it’s most natural to think, “Another year just went by. What happened?”

On the last day of December, with my family up in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin in a snug cabin with a crackling fire, I excuse myself to another room where I finish reading my entire journal from the year before. I look for patterns in my entries–things that worked well, or clearly weren’t working at all. I look for moments of joyful accomplishment, as well as moments where I felt frustrated and stuck.

I see this process as a crucial part of what comes next: setting goals for the year to come.

To effectively set goals for yourself, first you have to understand why you didn’t achieve the goals you had previously set.

As a society, we love setting goals for ourselves.

We love to-do lists and organized calendars. We love motivation journals with sayings at the top that keep us feeling high on our ambitions for all of three days. We love thinking about all the things we want to do and be–but struggle very much with enduring the hours and hours of implementation that process calls for.

What I’ve learned over the years about goal setting–both in studying my own behaviors as well as those of the people around me (who speak so highly of all the things they’re goingto do, but never do)–is that it tends to fail because of one reason and one reason only.

When a goal isn’t trackable on a daily basis, it becomes exponentially more difficult to feel as though you’re moving in the right direction.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say your goal was to go to your local gym and make 10 free throws a day–because you wanted to improve that one skill.

That seems like a very manageable goal, doesn’t it? Ten free throws.

You can show up to the gym. You can stay there for as long as you’d like. But you know what your goal is, you can measure its success, and each day you know whether that goal was achieved.

Now, let’s say your goal was to become one of the greatest basketball players to ever live.

How do you measure that?

Especially when you’re first starting out–let’s say this was a new goal–how would you know where to start? Should you spend your time doing layups? Shooting three-pointers? Maybe you should spend all day dribbling? How many hours should you practice?

You have a much less concrete goal to aim toward, which makes it much harder to gauge whether you’re making progress in the right direction.

And, as humans, unless we feel like we’re making progress, we tend to give up on our pursuit.

Unfortunately, most people don’t set concrete, measurable goals.

Instead, they set big, overarching, difficult-to-measure goals for themselves because they’re in love with the idea of the end result.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if that strategy didn’t pan out very well for you in 2017, then it’s probably not going to fair much better in 2018.

I challenge you to make this 1 change to the goals you set, and see what happens:

In 2018 (or effective immediately), I challenge you to only set goals you can accomplish within seven days.

Every time you set a goal, ask yourself if you can realistically accomplish it in seven days.

If you can, reverse-engineer what you need to do over the next week to accomplish it. How many hours do you need to devote to it each day? How will you know when you’ve crossed the finish line?

If you can’t accomplish it in seven days, the goal is too big. It’s all right to have a big goal on the horizon, but you’ll never get there if you can’t break it down into actionable steps. So ask yourself, “If my massive goal is all the way over there, what do I need to get done this week to move myself in that direction?”

Seven days.

I have always found the seven-day rule to be the most effective when it comes to goal setting, primarily because a week is always more than enough time to get something substantial done. The problem is, we rarely stay focused on our goals for a week straight. We daydream about the big shiny reward at the end, and then when it comes time to work we say, “Eh, I don’t really have time today–and besides, I have all the time in the world. I’ll do it tomorrow.”

But you don’t have all the time in the world.

You have seven days.

Get it done now. And at the end of next week, reflect again–and ask yourself, “Now that I’ve got that piece done, what’s next?”

And then repeat.

Read Next


Latest

Mubadala Tech Investments

Abu Dhabi’s Wealth Fund Ramps Up Tech Investments

Abu Dhabi's national wealth fund Mubadala is ramping up tech investments as part of its partnership with Japan's SoftBank, a key official from the firm revealed this week.According to Waleed al-Muhairi,  deputy group CEO... (contd.)
UAE tax launch

Post VAT, UAE Exploring New Taxes (No Income Tax, Though)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considering introducing new taxes post the launch of the Value Addex Tax (VAT), the UAE Ministry of Finance has said.These taxes would be explored and implemented... (contd.)

Dubai’s Private Sector Is Inching Towards Steady Growth Again

Dubai's private sector showed a solid performance in November, recording a third consecutive month of growth apparently helped along by some new job creation as well.Retail is proving to be the most... (contd.)

UAE Retailers Are Being Warned Against Fudging Prices Ahead Of VAT

Inspectors are reportedly already monitoring retail prices ahead of the introduction of the VAT, which comes into force in the UAE on January 1, 2018.This means that retailers in Dubai who begin charging VAT... (contd.)
Challenging times demand resilience. This simple but powerful habit will help you cultivate it.

The Simple Morning and Evening Ritual That Will Give You Incredible Mental Strength

Think you're having a rough couple of days? (Or even a rough couple of years?) Then take a minute to consider what TEDxLehighRiver speaker Sarah Trimmer went through between 2011 and 2015:... (contd.)
- Advertisement -
Join Our Daily Newsletter
Sign up to get all the business news and intelligence that matters straight to your mailbox.
Join Our Newsletter !
Like This Article? Subscribe To Our Newsletter To Receive More Of Them Straight In Your Inbox
Contact Us.
Your Name
Email
Message
     
Thank you for your interest in Inc. Arabia. Please leave your contact details below, and we'll be in touch with you very soon.
Like This Article? Subscribe To Our Newsletter To Receive More Of Them Straight In Your Inbox