Coach Viv's guide to setting goals in the new year + free resources for songwriters

Tuesday, 09 Jan 2018

Viv Fantin shares valuable tips 

Have you ever set a goal and wondered why it didn’t ‘stick’? I have. Plenty in fact. And we should probably get this bit out of the way too. Resolutions – do they work? Er, sorry to disappoint, but not usually.

I used to start off each New Year with a lengthy and exciting list of things I planned to do. And then spend the next twelve months basically not doing them. Oh, my intentions were there, and my initial efforts were admirable. But as more and more time went by, other stuff got in the way and I realised I couldn’t be bothered.

Initially, I would get all carried away with these ridiculously unrealistic resolutions, with basically no plan, and then wonder why, come February, nothing had actually changed. In the coaching biz, this is called 'set and forget'. If you’ve said something like, ‘this year I’m going to be more creative”, “next month I’m going to get fit” or (my favourite) “this year I’m going to stress less!”, then maybe you can relate?

Now that I know there’s a bit of a process to setting goals that actually work, I’m pretty fond of them. So herewith is my guide for setting goals that are meaningful and achievable.

STEP 1: Think small goals
Scrap that list of 15 New Year’s resolutions and focus on 2 or 3 things you really want to achieve in your life or career (or both).

STEP 2: Be (really, really) specific
Large, vague goals usually backfire. Instead try and focus on a concrete goal and word it accordingly. The more detail, the better. Check the SMART goal guide below for more info.

STEP 3: Break your goal into small and manageable chunks
Once you are clear on your specific goal, the next part of the process is to break it into actionable steps.  This part of the process is really important for maintaining momentum and motivation. Avoid the de-motivation trap by being really clear on the sub-steps you’ll need to take to accomplish you goal. That way, you’ll be able to see and measure your progress which will motivate you to take the next step.

STEP 4: Have a goal reality check
With smaller, more realistic goals, you’re more likely to succeed, so check that your goal isn’t completely over-the-top and unachievable. As you pull off your smaller goals, you’ll gain the motivation to keep going and will gain more confidence to attempt larger goals.

STEP 5: Be flexible and ready to adjust
Ok, the wheels have fallen off. Now what? Reflect back on what got in the way. Is there anything you could have done to change the outcome so far? Perhaps the goal was too large. Or perhaps you didn’t have all the resources, info and support you needed. Even if you weren’t able to reach your goal completely, what did you manage to achieve? Give yourself credit for what you were able to pull off, no matter how small.

STEP 6: Make your goals SMART.
This step is really important. Next time you set a goal, consider if it's SMART. And by that I don’t mean intelligent! Is your goal:

  • Specific

Is it specific or on the vague side? The devil is in the detail. Using stress management as an example a general goal would be, “I will stress less”. But a specific goal would might be “Starting today, I will practice one stress management technique a day for one month.” You can even get more specific and name your stress reduction technique (exercise, meditation, setting clear boundaries around being available at home after work and so on) and when you'll practice (in the morning before work, before bed etc).

  • Measurable

Can you measure the outcome? How will you know when you’re less stressed? Will you measure your stress levels across days, weeks or months?

  • Achievable / Action

Is your goal actually achievable? What specific actions do you need to take to make your goal happen? What support do you need?

  • Relevant

Is your goal actually relevant to you and your life or a projection of what someone else wants you to achieve? Make sure your goal is relevant to your life.

  • Timed

What is the time-frame and is it achievable with everything else you’re trying to juggle? Do you need to break the goal down into smaller goals? Setting a realistic, flexible and achievable time-frame that is not open-ended will help you reach your goal.

Sharing a goal is a great way to get moral support. And it also helps with accountability if you have a buddy to help keep you on track.

Coach Viv XO

Want to go deeper into your goal-setting with Coach Viv? Contact Viv to find out more

If you’re keen to set goals that stick for 2018, sign up for the annual Get Clear in the New Year coaching program with Next Act Coaching.

This offer has now expired, check out an archive of Viv's advice here.

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