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How to Set Meaningful Goals in the New Year

by Craig Ross

New year, new you. This idea, albeit cliché, is motivation for many individuals to reflect on their personal growth and what they’d like to accomplish in the upcoming year. And while some will dismiss the idea that new year’s resolutions can be successfully upheld, there is value in setting meaningful goals for yourself.

Assessing your strengths and areas for growth is something that should be a constant practice throughout the year—both professionally and in your personal life. However, it doesn’t hurt to take advantage of this tradition and use the new year as a benchmark for setting new objectives.

Moving Forward

How can you set yourself up for success? In order to make permanent changes, you need to feel good about yourself. Instead of focusing on failures, creating a forward momentum can allow you to more effectively change habits. Here are a few tips:

  1. Focus on the progress you are making. This will build your confidence and maintain your forward momentum toward your goals.
  2. Ask questions that move results forward. Instead of asking yourself, “Why can’t I get this right?” ask “What can I do better the next time?”
  3. Tap into your motivation. It’s important to have a clear and consistent picture of why something is important to you.

Avoid Common Pitfalls

Of course, change is rarely easy. It takes effort and self-awareness to avoid obstacles that may stand in the way of you reaching your goals. Some of these common obstacles include:

  1. The “misidentification” obstacle: Avoid identifying yourself with the results you create. This often leads to paralysis­—when you deliver a sub-par performance, you assume it means that you are sub-par. Overcome this obstacle by using outcomes to motivate future decisions instead of dwelling on them.
  2. The “I don’t really care” obstacle: When you try something new and fail to succeed, it’s common to use apathy as a defense tool. Ask yourself, “why do I care?” and do so frequently.
  3. The “query quandary” obstacle: Often times when people fail, they ask themselves the wrong question, “what am I doing wrong?” By asking this question, you become an expert at failure. Overcome this obstacle by asking forward focus questions instead, like, “how will I do better next time?”

It’s all about maintaining a forward momentum. View failure not as a setback, but as a teachable moment that informs how you can move forward. Whatever this new year may bring, having the right mindset will help you make the most of it.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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